Legal Planning for Alzheimer’s Patients
Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 16, 2015 – For people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, creating a legal plan can help ensure that their wishes are met as the disease progresses.
“Over time, Alzheimer’s slowly renders patients unable to make their own legal decisions,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center, with offices in Virginia Beach and northern Suffolk. “As soon as Alzheimer’s is diagnosed, individuals should take the time to initiate or update their legal planning.”
For individuals with dementia, one of the most important aspects of legal planning is to designate another person to make medical decisions and care decisions on their behalf. An advance medical directive allows individuals to outline their health care wishes and choose someone to make medical decisions when they are unable to do so. End-of-life preferences and care preferences can be detailed in an advance medical directive, which helps ensure that individuals receive the care they prefer when they become unable to make their own choices.
A financial power of attorney lets individuals designate someone to handle their financial affairs when they become unable to do so on their own.
Legal planning also includes documents such as wills and trusts, which dictate how one’s property will be distributed after their passing.
In addition to drawing up legal documents, it is recommended that individuals with Alzheimer’s discuss their wishes with the people who will be involved in their care. For example, the person designated as the healthcare agent should be aware of the individual’s wishes of where the relevant legal documents can be found. When family members are aware of their loved one’s wishes and legal plans, those wishes are most likely to be followed.