So many prospective clients that we meet come to our office because they or a loved one has exhibited signs or been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. We hear a great deal about what our client families think to be true about coping with Alzheimer’s Disease in relation to legal planning and medical decisions.
Myth #1: You can’t sign a will if you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia.
Not true. In the State of Texas and many other states, a competent adult can make legal and financial decisions if they have brief or extended periods of lucidity.
Myth #2: You can’t make legal or financial decisions about your family business if you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia.
Not true. You must be declared incompetent before your decision-making power can be removed from you.
The threat of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other disabling disease or sudden disability is an excellent reason to meet with an estate planning and elder law attorney to clearly outline your wishes and desires should you become disabled. You’ll want a clearly-defined succession plan and you’ll want to communicate your plans so that your family and business partners are clear about your wishes.
Myth #3: Your long-term care is paid for by Medicare if you have Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia.
Not always true. Medicare is designed for acute care needs and skilled nursing care needs. Often, an Alzheimer’s patient requires costly long-term care that may not be covered by Medicare. Unfortunately, many families may find their financial nest egg threatened by the ongoing costs of at-home care and other expenses during the course of this devastating disease.
Myth #4: Alzheimer’s Disease affects the elderly and I’m not old enough.
Not true. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, younger-onset or early-onset Alzheimer’s affects up to 5 percent of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s – more than 200,000 people. Many patients facing early onset Alzheimer’s are diagnosed in their 40s and 50s --- the decades when many families accumulate or earn the most of their retirement income!
Compounded with loss of potential earnings and the costs of day-to-day care, early-onset Alzheimer’s can be financially and emotionally devastating for a family. Securing an estate planning strategy that couples with a comprehensive life-care plan may help families maintain their long-term security.
Myth #5: My spouse and my adult children know my wishes and they will take care of me. We agree on everything all of the time.
Yes. We all have loving families and all of our children want what is best for us. However, circumstances that may be out of our family’s control may cause children or spouses to act in a way that is abnormal. Perhaps a divorce, failing business, or other legal or tax complications may make our families make decisions that are not in our best interest.
Or, it may be difficult for our children to accept that we are not acting as decisive parents. The realization that there is a need to step up and make decisions on our behalf may come to late to our children.
So many of life’s fates can be out of our control….seek control now so that your plans and wishes are cemented in a solid estate plan that maps out your estate planning and care wishes. If you wish to begin the process by attending a complimentary elder law workshop, visit my website to reserve your space.