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Planning for an Uncertain Future

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Millions of Americans Are Impacted Are You Prepared If Dementia Affects You? A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or dementia results in a complexity of issues that can astound even the most prepared of families. Your future needs are not only medical, but likely social, emotional and spiritual. Concerns about change, lack of independence and the fear of memory loss can be overwhelming. Fortunately, you can prepare now to ensure that your affairs are in order. Here are some actions you can take now to plan for your needs later. Prepare Crucial Legal Documents DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY Everyone needs a financial power of attorney—a legal document that allows someone you choose now to act on your behalf later, including managing your finances and paying bills should you become incapacitated and unable to manage your own financial affairs. Your selected agent could be your spouse or child, a financial professional, or an organization such as a bank. Choose someone you trust to honor your wishes, and if you select an individual, name a backup person in case the first person is not available. The power ends when you die, but you can revoke it at any time as long as you are still capable. It has no bearing on the distribution of your assets when you die. A power of attorney must be signed by you and may need to be witnessed or notarized, depending on state law. REVOCABLE LIVING TRUST Depending on the level of assets you own, you may wish to have a revocable living trust in addition to the power of attorney, or in some states a conservator, for someone who is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's. A living trust can eliminate the possibility of a contentious court proceeding to appoint a guardian. You can transfer ownership of most of your property to the trust now. You can serve as your own trustee and continue to manage your trust assets for as long as you are able and wish According to the Alzheimer's Association, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia is expected to increase by more than 50 percent by 2030. Now is the time to ask yourself some critical questions: Will I need to move into a retirement community or nursing home? When do I hand over the car keys and sell the car? Who will pay my bills and watch over my money? Planning Tip Because laws vary from state to state and every person's situation is different, it's important to meet with your estate planning attorney to create legal documents. Your attorney can help you look at all your options for creating a plan that meets your future needs.

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