Dementia is the collective name for a variety of neurological conditions that interfere with a person’s ability to make decisions, remember details and perform everyday tasks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that roughly 14 million Americans will have dementia by 2060.
If you have a dementia diagnosis, you may be dealing with a variety of emotions. Still, before your progressive condition worsens, you may want to use your estate plan to protect your legal and financial interests. Here are three estate planning tools that may be helpful.
1. A durable power of attorney
Even if you have mental clarity currently, eventually you may become unable to make your own financial and legal decisions. By creating a durable power of attorney now, you can pick a trusted relative or friend to make these decisions for you. This, of course, may help to protect the assets for which you have worked hard all your life.
2. Advance health care directives
As you learn more about your condition, you may develop some clear ideas about the medical care you want your doctors to use. You may also have some strong feelings about treatments you do not want. With an advance health care directive, you leave implicit instructions for your doctors and other health care professionals to follow.
3. A health care surrogate
Even with an advance directive, you may not be able to foresee all possible medical scenarios. Therefore, you may want to name a health care surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf. This person has the authority to manage your medical care after your incapacitation.
Ultimately, by creating a comprehensive estate plan when you still have control of your mental faculties, you lessen the future burden on your loved ones.