Here is another in our "Greatest Hits" series of blogs. This one was first published in November of 2011.
While medical research and advocacyare vital causes to uphold, Alzheimerâ€™s is a disease that you and your lovedones might have to face directly, if you have not already. With the reality ofAlzheimerâ€™s or dementia striking close to home, some understanding and priorplanning can help you in terms of the extensive economic toll and the uniquelegal ramifications.
According to a recentForbes article, Alzheimerâ€™s is as widespread as it is demanding. Considerthis: Another American citizen will develop Alzheimerâ€™s every 69 seconds. Thesymptoms are oftentimes subtle, at least initially. Some estimate that morethan 13 million Americans will have the disease by 2050 and run up as much as$1 trillion in costs. Because of the progressive nature of the disease, most ofthe costs and problems wonâ€™t develop until later on. Nevertheless, significantplanning must take place at the time of diagnosis, if not anticipatedbeforehand.
So, what is the scope of thisâ€œsignificant planningâ€? First, you will need to secure medical care, both fornow and for the future. That means fundamental financial planning needs to beaddressed, to include securing government benefits such as Medicaid and SocialSecurity Disability Insurance. Second, because of Alzheimerâ€™s progressivecognitive degeneration, estate planning must occur early in the process tosecure and protect family assets. Thorough estate planning should includedurable powers of attorney and advance health care directives. Thesedocuments create a plan for your future when you may no longer be able tomanage your finances or make decisions regarding your health or personal caredue to mental incapacity. With these documents, you identify atrusted person to act on your behalf and in your best interests to makefinancial and health care decisions for you.
Establishing durablepowers of attorney and advance health care directives while you are in goodmental and physical health will allow you to avoid the prospects of acourt-supervised and expensive conservatorship.
Fundamentally, itâ€™s important tounderstand that Alzheimerâ€™s is not the same as other diseases. Through it all,competent counsel will be necessary to properly assess the needs andpossibilities, as well as to ensure that everything is in place when neededmost. At Idaho Estate Planning we have the experience and expertise to help youmaintain your options and protect yourself as well as your loved ones now andinto the future. We have a network of resources throughout the Treasure Valleyready to help us meet your needs. Remember, good planning is no accident!