Because of the debilitating impact of Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia on a senior’s ability to make sound financial decisions, the sooner you can get financial matters in order, the better, says The (Florence, AL) Courier Journal’s recent article entitled “4 Financial Steps When Dealing with Alzheimer’s.”
Here are four important steps to take:
- Watch for signs of unusual financial activity. Discrepancies with money can frequently be a signal of cognitive challenges. Red flags may include difficulty paying a proper amount for an item, leaving bills unpaid, or making odd purchases.
- Name a power of attorney. Many people are hesitant to give control of their personal finances to another. However, it’s important to have an honest discussion with your family member and discuss looking out for their interests. Identify a person who you can trust to manage day-to-day money matters, if necessary. This person should be designated as a financial power-of-attorney, with authority to sign checks, pay bills and monitor the senior’s finances.
- Prepare proper documentation. A senior must be deemed competent to complete or update estate planning documents. It is important to be certain that the named beneficiaries are up-to-date.
- Examine care expenses and how they will be covered. Create a strategy for how the senior will be cared for if their cognitive abilities deteriorate over time. Make decisions about whether specialized care will be needed (either in the home or in a nursing or assisted living facility). Long-term care insurance should also be considered to help with costs. Speak to an elder law attorney about trusts that can be established to provide care for the disabled individual while still protecting the family’s assets.
Delaying for too long to address financial issues after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can make an already stressful and emotional time even worse. There are actions that can be taken after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
Please address the situation as soon as you are aware that it could be a problem. Even creating a plan for addressing these issues before a form of dementia is firmly diagnosed makes sense.
See an experienced elder law attorney for guidance on how to manage these challenging times.
Reference: The (Florence, AL) Courier Journal (June 8, 2021) “4 Financial Steps When Dealing with Alzheimer’s”