- Powers of Attorney:
There are powers of attorney for finance and health care. The financial power of attorney (also called a durable power of attorney) allows someone you appoint to have the authority to make financial decisions for you in the event that you can’t make these decisions yourself. If a loved one is diagnosed with a debilitating disease such as Alzheimer’s. A health care power of attorney is especially important to permit someone to make medical decisions. Without a power of attorney in place when the loved one becomes incompetent, you may have to go through a lengthy and costly court proceeding in order to be appointed as guardian and conservator.
- Wills and Trusts:
No matter what your circumstances, it is important to have a will or trust in place to ensure that your assets will be distributed to your loved ones as you desire. Whenever a life changing event occurs such as being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you should review your will or trust to ensure that the plans put into place years ago still reflect your wishes. Just as with a power of attorney, the failure to plan ahead can be costly.
- Government benefits:
Because a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia may eventually require nursing home care it is important to plan ahead for the possibility of paying nursing home costs of over $7,000 a month. In order to qualify for Medicaid benefits, you should consult with an elder law attorney before making any gifts or transferring property, entering into caregiver contracts, or changing property titles – if any of these are done for less than fair market value Medicaid benefits could be denied. Also, speak with an elder law attorney about spending down your assets or establishing an irrevocable trust to meet Medicaid requirements.
What should I do NOW?
After reading all this information, it is important to ask a qualified elder law attorney any of your remaining questions. Your first step in caring for your loved one should be developing a comprehensive plan of action. Because Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are progressive diseases, the plan must be long term and prepare for the future. An elder law attorney can help ensure that you are on track financially and legally for events down the road such as requiring nursing home care and incapacitation. The Elder and Estate Planning Law Firm can help you develop this plan of action and successfully execute it every step of the way. Call (810) 953-3846 to schedule a confidential consultation and start on the path towards peace of mind.