How to help a parent with Alzheimer’s create an estate plan

On Behalf of | Jun 11, 2024 | Estate Planning

It is stressful and worrisome to have a parent who suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Seeing their cognitive decline and loss of memory can be heart-wrenching. You might also find yourself concerned about their needed medical care and the future of their estate.

If a proper estate plan isn’t in place, then your parent could be left without the care and treatment they need, and all their hard-earned wealth could evaporate as funds are used to cover costs associated with that care and treatment.

Helping a parent with Alzheimer’s or dementia plan for the future

Be careful with how you support your parent during the estate planning process. You don’t want to be accused of unduly influencing them in some way. So, loop other family members into the discussion so that it’s a collaborative approach to finding a path forward that best supports your parent. This might include the following:

  • Discussing a power of attorney and a healthcare directive with them at a time when they have mental clarity so that they can articulate if there’s someone in particular that they trust to make important healthcare and financial decisions for them if they become unable to make those decisions on their own.
  • Asking your parent to sign a release so that you or someone else in your family can gain access to their medical records if needed.
  • Talking about whether Medicaid planning is needed to ensure that your parent’s assets are reduced to the level that they qualify for government support.
  • Discussing how your parent wants to leave their assets to family members, friends, and charitable causes.
  • Encouraging your parent to visit the doctor to get an opinion on their mental state prior to the execution of any estate planning documents.

Start estate planning conversations as early as possible

To increase the chances that your parent will create a legally enforceable estate plan, and to decrease the risk of being accused of undue influence, start these conversations early and include your siblings and other family members who are important to your parent. By doing so, you’ll hopefully find a path forward that ensures that your parent and their assets will be adequately protected as they see fit.