As we age, it's important to think about our estate planning and how our medical conditions may impact that. For example, Alzheimer's and dementia can significantly affect estate planning. Understanding these conditions' legal implications is essential to ensure your estate plan is legally binding. Continue reading or watch here as Krause Estate Planning Founder, Attorney Dan Krause, shares on his YouTube channel how Alzheimer's and dementia can impact your estate plan and what you need to know about the legalities involved.
Defining Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia
Alzheimer's disease and dementia are two different neurological conditions that can have devastating effects on individuals and their families. Alzheimer's is a progressive disease that attacks the brain, affecting memory, behavior, and the ability to think clearly. Dementia is an umbrella term for several similar conditions caused by damage or illness to parts of the brain that control cognitive functions like memory, problem-solving, and language. In both cases, an individual with one of these conditions may not be able to create an estate plan as estate planning requires that individuals have sound mental capacity for any estate plan to be legally valid.
What Happens if Your Loved One Has Alzheimer's or Dementia and You Want Them to Create an Estate Plan?
Having Alzheimer's or dementia can have a profound impact on the estate planning process. Creating an estate plan requires someone to have the mental capacity to understand and make judgments regarding the nature and consequences of decisions made. If someone with Alzheimer's or dementia attempts to create an estate plan without medical validation of mental capacity, their plans could be invalidated when the incapacity becomes known. Therefore, people with Alzheimer's or dementia must have their mental capacity verified by a qualified healthcare provider before proceeding with an estate plan.
The Importance of Having a Plan in Place Before Alzheimer's or Dementia Occurs
With Alzheimer's and dementia affecting millions of people each year, it is increasingly important that individuals have an estate plan before symptoms appear. Having a plan ensures that your wishes will be honored if and when cognitive impairment arises. When the diagnosis of Alzheimer's or dementia is made, it significantly reduces an individual's ability to make decisions regarding their estate, as they must possess the legal capacity to do so.
Taking the time to create an estate plan before the progression of Alzheimer's or dementia can help ensure that should a person become incapacitated, their affairs will be managed according to their wishes, and requirements for care are properly provided.
If you are concerned about your loved one's mental capacity and their estate plan or have any other estate planning questions, contact Krause Estate Planning. Our experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney can help and guide you to the best possible outcome for your loved one's estate. Reach out online or by phone so we can discuss your situation. (608) 344-5491 Our team helps individuals throughout Wisconsin, including Janesville, Madison, Middleton, Milwaukee, Oregon, Sun Prairie, Verona, and Waunakee.