Estate planning documents needed for people with Alzheimer’s

When a loved one such as a spouse or parent is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they may already be neurologically impaired or suffer from memory loss, and their mental state will continue to decline. It’s vital to get estate planning documents in place as soon as possible to ensure there is a plan that clearly defines their health care and financial wishes. 

Special considerations need to be taken due to the nature of the disease since people with Alzheimer’s lose their ability to make important decisions as their mental acuity declines. The first order of business is for the person to designate a trusted friend or relative, referred to as the ‘agent,’ who understands their wishes and can step in and handle financial and health care decisions when they, the ‘principal,’ are no longer able to speak for themselves. 

The principal will need to officially designate the person they’re to which they’re giving Power of Attorney, a legal document that gives someone of your choosing the power to act in your place and make decisions on your behalf. At the Law Office of David W. Foley, we recommend that the principal file a Durable POA, which gives the agent the right to act on their behalf should the principal become incapacitated. 

What you must have

There are several other vital estate planning documents for people with Alzheimer’s to consider, including a living will, Durable Power of Attorney for healthcare and a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR). 

A Durable Power of Attorney for healthcare allows one to designate an agent who can make medical-related decisions on their behalf. It’s important that it’s a Durable Power of Attorney (POA), so that it remains in place after the principal is no longer able to speak for themselves. Filing a separate Durable POA for healthcare, along with a Durable POA for financial and estate planning allows the principal to choose a different proxy for each situation. 

Setting up a living will allows you to record your wishes for medical treatment near the end of life or if you are no longer conscious or unable to make decisions about emergency treatment. 

A Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) Order instructs healthcare professionals not to perform CPR or other life-saving measures if a person’s heart or breathing stops.

Getting guidance

When you or someone you love gets the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, it can be devastating and difficult to think about all that you need to do to prepare for the future. At the Law Office of David W. Foley, we can help put your mind at ease by executing the Power Of Attorney set up and other estate planning documents. We’re experts in California estate planning laws, and have extensive experience helping our clients with their estate planning needs. 

Call or email today to speak with an estate planning attorney in San Diego. We will walk you through the process, taking special care to ensure you and your family are covered in the event of a major illness like Alzheimer’s disease.