By 2030, there will be nearly 76 million people around the world living with dementia. That’s a startling number. It also highlights the importance of proper planning. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with this cruel disorder, the last thing you want to do is worry about the legalities. This is certainly one of those times when planning takes on new importance. It’s often as emotionally traumatizing for family members as it is for the patient.
Most people are concerned about the quality of life that comes with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It’s understandable; after all, despite the many breakthroughs, there remains much that’s simply not known. At a minimum, however, you can put protections and effective strategies in place so that you can care for your loved one without worrying about the other issues.
Estate and elder law planning provides many solutions for families. From proper Medicare and Medicaid planning, Social Security planning and other insurance considerations to putting into place proper powers of attorney that will provide guidance if and when your loved one is unable to communicate her wishes. As you might expect, the costs associated with these types of diagnoses are extraordinary, partly because it’s a slow and steady type of regression.
Those who are ill, yet feel they will retain their mental clarity to the end of their days, sometimes resist having a Health Care Proxy drafted for them. They find the whole idea of loss of control too threatening and uncomfortable to consider, and delay or dismiss taking this important step. While some people do retain their decision-making capacity right up to the end of their lives, unfortunately this isn’t the case with Alzheimer’s victims. And that means if you don’t have a Health Care Proxy, once again your family members may become subject to costly and draining guardianship proceedings in court.
Because those with dementia or Alzheimer’s have good days and bad days, the ideal solution for putting any kind of healthcare proxy or living will into place should happen early on. With a healthcare proxy, while you still have your presence of mind, you have the advantage of selecting a person you feel will understand your ideas, philosophy and wishes about your life, health and medical care. In turn, this person will then be empowered to make the decisions you would make, were you able to.
The same applies to your finances. Who do you trust to ensure your finances are properly handled? Who will remember to pay the paper boy? The law maintenance team? Your utilities? Insurance premiums? You may have several family members who would happily take the initiative, you really should consider the one who is better organized and can pay attention to the details. This is the person who should be on your financial power of attorney.
Finally, if you’ve applied for Medicaid or will soon do so, you’ll want to carefully consider the approval process. It’s not an overnight or fast process. An estate planning lawyer can provide guidance and can also alert you to the ever-changing laws associated with this area of the legal industry. To learn more, contact DeBruyckere Law Offices at (603) 894-4141 or (978) 969-0331.
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