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After a Dementia Diagnosis: Preparing for the Future

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A dementia diagnosis, a category of diseases that includes Alzheimer’s disease, is overwhelming.  In the days that follow, worry and question seem to consume life’s in-between moments. Now what? Will I lose control over my life and ability to make decisions?  What should I be doing?

Receiving such a diagnosis does not necessarily preclude you from executing legal documents or making decisions about plans for your future. People with dementia can execute legal documents when they have legal capacity. Capacity refers to your ability to understand the contents of a legal document, such as a will, and know the consequences of executing it. If you know who your family is, understand your assets, and comprehend your will, you can execute a valid will and plan for the distribution of your estate after your death, provided you understand what you are signing and its effect.

Health Care Directive 

Consider appointing a health care agent to make medical decisions if you become incapacitated.  Your health care agent can make medical choices if you can no longer do so. Picking someone you trust, such as a responsible child or spouse, can give you peace of mind that they will have your best interests and desires in mind when they make decisions. In your Health Care Directive, you can state your intentions regarding health care and limit your agent’s capabilities if you wish.

Financial Power of Attorney 

Using a financial power of attorney, you can select a trusted individual to handle your financial affairs if your disease progresses such that you can no longer make financial decisions.   In the power of attorney for property document, you can restrict your agent’s powers. For instance, you can specify the agent can manage personal accounts, but not sell the family home.

Long-Term Care Planning 

After a dementia diagnosis, consider whether you would like to receive long-term care at home or in a facility, and whether you intend to apply for Medicaid or long-term care insurance. If you want to apply for Medicaid, you might need to prepare your finances to become eligible.

Last Will and Testament

Making a last will and testament can help ensure your assets go to your intended beneficiaries. If you have items of sentimental value, you can leave them to specific people. Without a will, your assets will pass to your heirs as directed by the Government.

Call one of our Certified Medicaid Planners at 570-784-4654 to discuss your plans for your future.

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