Livens & Reed, PLLC

Estate planning is essential after Alzheimer's diagnosis

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive, debilitating form of dementia that affects millions of people in Texas and the rest of the country. It is a horrific diagnosis to hear about, for the patient as well as family members. While certainly one's attention should be given to treatment of the disease and how to keep it at bay, a person's plans for care and finances also need to be addressed. Experts highly recommend going through the estate planning process to formalize these directives while able to do so.

As Alzheimer's progresses, the ability to make competent decisions decreases as memory loss occurs. Therefore, it would be wise to thoroughly discuss one's plans and wishes with family members and involve them in the decision-making process. This would be a good time to review any existing legal or financial documentation and make appropriate changes, taking the disease into account.

Documents such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney need to be updated. If these are not currently in place, it would be beneficial to create these plans as soon as possible. Certainly, any medical directives should be put in place immediately. Financial information, such as bank accounts, insurance policies, deeds and retirement accounts, need to be reviewed to make sure appropriate beneficiaries have been designated. There are many other elements, such as passwords for various websites, payment of ongoing bills and investment directives, that should also be addressed.

Estate planning is a crucial process, whether or not someone has received the devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. A Texas attorney familiar with estate administration law can help someone develop an estate plan that is unique to his or her situation. Having a plan in place can bring assurance that one's personal needs and those of one's family will be handled as desired.

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