3 estate planning options for when a loved one has dementia

A large portion of the U.S. suffers from dementia. The crippling disease may originate from one of many possible sources, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and brain damage. It negatively impacts cognitive function, resulting in memory loss, impaired reasoning, lowered coordination and more.

Those who suffer from it often find themselves the victims of financial abuse. People close to them may seek to take advantage of their diminished mental capacity. For example, family members, friends or new spouses may try to manipulate them into changing their will while they are not in their right minds or convince them to make poor decisions. There are estate planning options individuals undergoing mental decline may take.

1. A medical living will

This is a legal document in which elderly people may specify how they want the last years of their lives to be. In this manner, they are able to ensure their caretakers consider their wishes even after their minds deteriorate. Details they may lay out include whether or not they want artificial life support and other medical preferences about areas like pain management, organ donation, tube feeding and more.

2. A living trust

This is a tool that allows the passing of assets to heirs while avoiding the often long probate process. An assigned trustee distributes them after the death of the decedent and may also step in if the person is alive and becomes disabled and unable to manage the trust’s contents.

3. A power of attorney

Individuals may also assign a power of attorney to act on their behalf. They may grant the chosen agent powers with regards to finances, physical health or mental health.

Those with dementia have legal choices to ensure the carrying out of their desires and protect themselves from financial exploitation.