During the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, your mom or dad will likely need help managing his or her financial and personal affairs. If your parent already has a Power of Attorney or living will in place, a new diagnosis of dementia should cause you to take a fresh look at those documents, especially if they do not reflect your parent’s current wishes. If your parent does not have designation documents in place, now is the time to create them with a Monticello elder lawyer if your parent’s doctor determines that he or she is still competent to sign legal documents.
Creating a Power of Attorney
A Power of Attorney allows your parent name an agent, usually you as the adult child, to act on his or her behalf in financial matters. This document can give you the authority that you need to write checks for your parent, deal with banks, or access any benefits necessary to pay for care. Keep in mind, however, that there are different types of Powers of Attorney documents that take effect based on the wishes of the creator. A qualified estate planning and elder law attorney here in Monticello can help you make the right choice.
Creating a Healthcare Directive
A Healthcare Directive is a legal document that your parent can use to name someone whom they trust to speak to doctors and make healthcare decisions on their behalf. This comprehensive document will also list out your parent’s instructions concerning long-term care and end-of-life care.
If your parent has an older Healthcare Directive in place, take the time to review the document with him or her since feelings on end-of-life care may have changed following a new Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It’s also critical to update this document if any of your parent’s agents (most likely a spouse) have already passed away.
Again, your parent will still likely be mentally competent in the early stages of the disease, so be sure to talk openly about any medical wishes he or she has to ensure that the documents line up with such requests. This allows you to be clear on his or her requests and what you need to do to ensure those wishes are fulfilled.
If you would like to learn more about creating designation documents for a parent who has early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, or if you’d like to have your parent’s current designation documents reviewed to make sure they are still appropriate for their current situation, please contact our Monticello estate and elder law office at (763) 244-2949 to schedule a consultation.