Incidents of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and various other disorders resulting in dementia have become quite common among senior citizens. Memory loss, in almost any form, can be devastating for every individual involved but dementia presents extraordinary challenges for the aged adults along with the families. This goes especially when drafting wills, coming up with medical decisions and handling other important financial and legal matters. Furthermore, it is generally the children of the dementia-affected individuals who make decisions on their behalf. However, it is essential for the members of the family to have a clear understanding of various financial & legal implications of the action that they take.
Managing Legal Issues for People with Dementia
Legal concerns related to dementia are not the only thing that individuals think about when taking care of their loved ones suffering from dementia. However, the legal issues are supposedly the most important matters that should never be overlooked. Specifically speaking, there are multiple legal documents that people with dementia need to sign so that if their decision-making capacity is weakened in the future, care decisions can be made by people they trust. Ultimate or final wishes of different varieties that might be important for the affected individual, like pet care, living situation, and funeral arrangements, should be made while the individual still possesses decision-making ability.
Important Legal Matters Concerning Dementia Sufferers
Different forms of dementia generally raise certain financial and legal problems for the future. People with dementia must be involved in different decisions as long as they have the ability and the willingness to get involved in the decision-making procedure. The procedure that needs to be followed in dealing with legal concerns related to dementia includes:
- Obtaining expert legal advice immediately. This is because when the disease in its initial stage, the affected individual will still have the capability of being an important part of the financial and legal planning procedure.
- Local and state bar associations can provide the contacts of lawyers practicing in this field of law.
- Legal assistance concerning the legal matters in relation to dementia can be found within an affordable range at the Area Agency on Alzheimer’s disease or Aging and Legal Aid Society.
- Once the condition has been diagnosed, it is necessary to discuss coming up with a living will and offering a long-lasting power of attorney for health care. Such documents ensure that an individual’s wishes for life-sustaining treatment and medical care are available in writing.
- Determining whether the affected individual is or willing to be eligible for any kind of Medicaid and investigating long-term financing and care options.
- Locating documents considered important for assessing the financial and legal affairs of the individual. These include trusts and wills, life and health insurance plans, prior tax returns, deeds, pension information, bank accounts, mortgages and information regarding other important financial investments.
- Reviewing the ownership of the individual’s property. The insinuations of the transfer of assets should be discussed with the lawyer.
Legal concerns related to dementia need to be tackled even before they arise and it is also important that they are handled carefully.