When Is the Best Time to Discuss Estate Planning After a Dementia Diagnosis?

Elder Law Hoover, AL: Estate Planning
Elder Law Hoover, AL: Estate Planning

Your dad’s doctor confirmed he has dementia. None of you wanted to hear this, especially your dad, but now is the time to make plans for his future. One of his first steps should be to seek an elder law professional about estate planning. 
What Is Estate Planning? 
Estate planning is a legal process that determines how one’s assets will be managed and distributed when incapacitated or after death. A will is one step, but there are also trusts, the naming of an executor, naming any beneficiaries or charities to receive funds, and the arrangement of cremation or burial plans. 
The goal of estate planning is to ensure that assets end up where an individual wants and limit the amount of taxes owed. Part of estate planning is also setting up durable powers of attorney for medical and financial matters. If your dad doesn’t have advance directives, that’s also an important consideration. 
Things Your Dad Needs to Do 
Your dad needs to go through his home and create a spreadsheet or list of all of his assets. This includes his home and any real estate, his vehicles and boats, collectibles, and personal possessions of value. He also needs to list intangible assets like his bank accounts, stocks/bonds, life insurance policies, and retirement plans. 
If your dad owns a business, he needs to note that. If he has co-owners, their names and contact information should go on the list. He needs to go through everything and come up with estimated values or balances for everything. 
Once he’s created his list of assets, he needs to determine to whom he would want to give assets after his death. He may want you to get the house since you provided the majority of his care, so he’d divide his assets as he desires. 
He needs to name agents to make financial and medical decisions for him after his death. He also needs to list out what he would or wouldn’t want in a medical situation where he couldn’t speak for himself. 
Once he has this information in hand, he’ll go to an elder law practice to discuss his goals and get the legal forms drafted. He’ll return later to sign them and get copies for those he wants to have a copy. 
Why Is It Important for Your Dad to Talk to a Lawyer Now? 
The sooner your dad addresses his estate planning goals with an elder law professional, the better it is. If he delays this meaningful conversation until his mental facilities have diminished, he may need to enter into guardianship. That can mean going to court to have someone appointed guardian. 
By scheduling a consultation with an elder law specialist now, his goals for the future are easily arranged. It gives him peace of mind. 

If you or a loved need assistance with Elder Law in Hoover, AL contact Nolan Elder Law & Estate Planning today. (205) 390-0101