If you’re the primary caregiver for a loved one who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll have to assist in making arrangements to secure their financial future. According to the National Institutes on Aging, although dealing with end-of-life decisions is never easy, legal and medical experts highly recommend that people review their financial arrangements as soon as they’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s to ensure that their wishes are carried out. This is because those in the early stages of the disease are often capable of understanding the components and consequences of legal decision-making.
End-of-life planning for your family members with Alzheimer’s can be an emotional process, so it’s best to fully understand the different factors that go into financial planning to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. As you begin planning, you’ll find that these four steps are essential to your loved ones’ successful financial future.
- Select a durable power of attorney for finances
Your loved ones will have to name someone to make all of their financial decisions once they are no longer capable of doing so themselves. Selecting a durable power of attorney for finances will help you and your loved ones avoid court actions that could eventually remove any control you or your family members have over their financial affairs.
- Create a will
Your loved ones will have to create a will if they want to ensure their assets and belongings are distributed as they wish following their time of death. Wills can include information regarding gifts they want to leave to certain people and the arrangement of care for minors or pets. They can also detail their estate planning by selecting someone to take care of their home.
Seek legal guidance to assist your parents in writing their wills.
One of the most important aspects of creating a will is clarifying their funeral plans. Most people have a strong preference to how they want to be laid to rest. Your loved ones may be interested in funeral alternatives like cremation. National Cremation Society makes the planning process as seamless and stress-free as possible for you and your loved ones by offering affordable prepaid funeral plans. Preplanning funeral arrangements gives you and your loved ones peace of mind in knowing that all of the expenses are paid for and that their expectations will be met when the time comes.
It’s not enough for your loved ones to just create a will on their own, however. It can take months for wills to be located after a person passes, which could impact how effective their funeral wishes are. By planning this together, talking it through, and having a prearrangement set up, you can assure that their final wishes will be met.
- Appoint a living trust
In their wills, your loved ones can clarify specific instructions on how they want their home to be maintained after they die. They may also name a trustee, or a living trust, who will be responsible for holding the title to both the property and the funds for beneficiaries. Once your family members are no longer able to manage their affairs, the trustee takes over, so it’s essential that they pick someone they can rely on, such as a trusted family member. Once the living trust is named, this person can decide how the estate should be distributed once the last beneficiary dies, provide a plan for property disposition and avoid the cost and delay of probate.
- Consider an elder law attorney
Many people with Alzheimer’s will choose an elder law attorney (ELA) to assist them and their families with end of life decisions. ELAs help people understand state laws that dictate things like what the durable power of attorney for finances has control over and how legal documents are created and maintained. They are also able to thoroughly explain the financial options available to your parents and provide advice on how to preserve financial assets while supporting your loved ones with Alzheimer’s. To find a qualified ELA, contact the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the American Bar Association.
End-of-life planning isn’t a fun topic to discuss with loved ones, but without it, there’s no way to ensure their final needs will be met. Be proactive in setting up funeral and cremation plans to take the pressure of guesswork out of the arrangements when the time comes.