If you have been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and do not have an estate plan, now is the time to take action. It can be frustrating to have a diagnosis like this, especially if you are already dealing with symptoms. Still, if you take action now, you can set up an estate plan that will protect you, your estate and your beneficiaries.
Some people think that it’s too late to set up an estate plan once they’re diagnosed with a serious illness, but that’s not always true. In your case, you will be able to make legal decisions until you are formally considered to lack mental capacity. Usually, it’s a family physician or other doctor who determines when you can no longer understand or comprehend enough information to make decisions on your own behalf.
Planning now could help protect you later
Since Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease, it’s valuable if you put together a protective estate plan at this point. You will want to set up your living will and your healthcare power of attorney as soon as possible.
You may also want to look into adding other legal documents to your estate plan, like a Do Not Resuscitate order or a written letter to your loved ones that explains your wishes. At this time, it’s valuable to do all you can to make clear the kinds of treatment you do or do not want and how you want to have your affairs handled.
Another protective document to add to your estate plan is your financial power of attorney document. Who do you want to have make financial decisions for you? Talk to that person, as well as others to whom you are assigning roles, so they are clear about what you expect from them. If they’re not comfortable taking on the role, then have a backup assigned as well.
Until there is a reasonable medical determination that you are incapacitated and lack the mental capacity to make your own decisions, you can continue to do so. Use this time to put together a protective plan that will help you stay safe and protect what you care about.