While people hope their golden years come with finally checking off a bucket list, a dementia diagnosis quickly changes the focus of an estate plan.
Considering that more than 55 million people have dementia worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, planning for the progressions of this incurable disease helps ensure a better quality of life and that family gets properly taken care of.
Elements to include in an estate plan
People have different options to ensure that assets and healthcare directives go as planned. People often create a revocable trust for a healthy spouse. This puts all assets in that person’s name, allowing the healthy person to pay bills and manage assets. Adding a co-trustee helps ensure having the right person in charge if both spouses fall ill. Other vital documents include a will, financial power of attorney, medical power of attorney and living will.
Financial elements to consider
A dementia diagnosis also comes with long-term medical expenses, which greatly affect financial planning. As the disease progresses, it eventually requires the need for additional caregivers and eventually full-time care in a facility. Although not pleasant to think about the outcome, dedicating resources now helps ensure that the spouse with dementia gets the right care needed as the situation changes.
Risks of not planning ahead
Although one spouse may have received a healthy report from the doctor, things can change quickly. If the healthy spouse falls ill and has not designated a power of attorney, it creates added complications. A family member may have to petition the courts to create a guardianship. Unfortunately, not all family members may have the best interest of others in mind.
A dementia diagnosis comes with far-reaching complications. Planning ahead helps a couple enjoy the time they have now.