If you or a family member are one of the millions of Americans facing a diagnosis of some type of dementia, it is critical that you have the essential estate planning documents in place that will protect you and your loved ones. And the earlier that planning is done once a diagnosis has been made, the better protected you will be against the financial and emotional burdens of mental incapacity.
The essential documents you need include:
- Advance Medical Directive – this legal document enables you to name someone who can make health care decisions for you in case you become unable to make them for yourself. Without an advance medical directive, your family will have to endure the hardship of a court proceeding to establish a guardian for you.
- Living Will — a living will allows you to specify the types of treatment you do – or do not – want in case of a terminal illness or a persistent vegetative state.
- Financial Power of Attorney – this legal document allows you to appoint someone to manage your finances in case of incapacity.
- Living Trust — establishing a revocable living trust allows you to appoint a successor trustee to act in case of incapacity.
These documents must comply with state law as well as with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). It is crucial for you to enlist the help of a Personal Family Lawyer® to create these documents while you or a loved one is still mentally competent.
If you’d like to learn more about important legal protections for those facing a progressive illness or have other estate planning questions, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.