and Probate Law Firm
Estate Planning for Alzheimer’s and Dementia
As a Portland lawyer experienced in estate planning, I work with clients who may be experiencing certain neurodegenerative illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. Estate planning for Alzheimer’s and dementia is especially important because these conditions can impact an individual’s decision-making capacity and cognitive abilities. Planning ahead can ensure that the person’s wishes are respected, their financial affairs are managed appropriately, and their care needs are met. Here are some key steps and considerations for estate planning in this context:
- Early Planning: It’s best to start estate planning as early as possible, while the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia is still capable of making decisions and understanding the implications. This includes creating or updating important legal documents. Additionally, it is important to note that a diagnosis of these illnesses does not automatically preclude the person’s ability to execute estate planning documents. The important point is whether or not the person is capable of understanding what they are signing. If they are, then the documents are valid, whereas if they are not, then the documents are invalid.
- Power of Attorney: Assign a trusted family member or friend as an attorney-in-fact through a durable power of attorney. This person will make financial and legal decisions on behalf of the individual when they are no longer able to do so.
- Healthcare Proxy and Living Will: Designate a healthcare proxy who can make medical decisions when the person is unable to do so. A living will or advance healthcare directive can outline the person’s medical treatment preferences.
- Will and Living Trusts: Ensure that the person has a valid will and any necessary trusts in place. Consider a revocable living trust to manage assets during their lifetime and for the benefit of their heirs after their death.
- Beneficiary Designations: Review and update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and other assets to ensure they align with the person’s current wishes.
- Long-Term Care Planning: Explore long-term care options and financial strategies, including Medicaid planning, to cover the costs of care as the condition progresses.
- Guardianship or Conservatorship: If the person with Alzheimer’s or dementia has not appointed an attorney-in-fact, the court may need to establish guardianship or conservatorship to manage their personal and financial affairs. This process can be complex and costly, so early planning is advisable.
- Memorandum of Personal Property: Create a list or memorandum of personal property to specify who should receive certain items of sentimental or financial value. Such a memorandum generally applies to tangible personal items, and not financial accounts or real estate.
- Family Communication: Discuss the person’s wishes with family members and ensure that they are aware of the estate plan and the individual’s preferences for care.
- Secure Financial Accounts: Safeguard financial accounts, records, and important documents. Consider consolidating accounts and simplifying financial matters to reduce confusion.
- Regular Updates: Periodically review and update the estate plan as the condition progresses and the person’s needs change.
- Digital Assets: Consider how digital assets, such as online accounts and passwords, will be managed and accessed if the individual is unable to do so.
Estate planning for Alzheimer’s and dementia requires thoughtful consideration of the person’s future needs and a focus on preserving their financial well-being and quality of life. Consulting with an estate planning lawyer in Portland can provide invaluable guidance and help ensure that the estate plan is comprehensive and protective of the individual’s best interests. If you have any questions about estate planning for Alzheimer’s or dementia, contact Thapar Law at 503-295-9741 or send us a message.
Get in Touch
- 1 Free Consultation
- 2 Experienced
- 3 Committed to Our Clients