Estate planning for seniors with dementia

On Behalf of | Sep 13, 2021 | Estate Planning

When seniors receive a dementia diagnosis, they may want to ensure that they have an estate plan in place. People may gradually lose the ability to make decisions about their everyday lives. Planning early allows them to consider the kinds of legal documents that they may need in the future.

The Alzheimer’s Association says that seniors may lose their legal capacity as their dementia worsens. Legal capacity refers to a person’s understanding of their choices. As seniors experience more dementia symptoms, they may not understand the differences between legal documents. Because of this, they cannot make decisions that are legally binding. Before seniors reach this point, they should consider what kind of care they may need in the future and put a plan in place.

Do seniors need a guardian?

Seniors with dementia may need someone to make choices about their finances and medical care. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, people may need to choose a guardian who can make these decisions for them. In some situations, a court may appoint a guardian for seniors. Some people, however, may have a family member who is willing to handle this responsibility. In this situation, they may want to appoint this person as their guardian so the arrangement is set before this step is necessary.

Do seniors need to grant power of attorney?

Seniors may also give power of attorney to a trusted family member. This gives someone the ability to manage a senior’s financial affairs. Additionally, people can make healthcare decisions if they have medical power of attorney. Power of attorney gives people many of the same abilities that they would have as a guardian. However, a guardian may have more control over certain aspects of a senior’s daily life. People with power of attorney typically have more limitations about the kind of decisions they can make. Families may want to examine both options and determine which one is more appropriate for their situation.

By planning early, seniors and their families can make sure that they are ready for all the situations that may arise in the future.