When the diagnosis is Alzheimers disease, find out as much as you can about the disease. Then plan for the future. While the disease is in its early stages, you may be able to complete important documents that will give you peace of mind and save you and your family money. Its critical that you authorize another person (e.g. a spouse, adult child or close friend) to make decisions for you. And you should take this step now, while youre still able, so that you, and not some judge, can select the person best suited to carry out your wishes.
As a “first legal step” its important to seek help from an attorney to put three documents in place
1. Durable Power of Attorney.
This document grants legal rights and powers to another. Choose someone you implicitly trust, such as your spouse or adult child, to act as your agent (sometimes called your attorney in fact). If you become incapacitated, a durable power of attorney lets your agent act for you in financial and business matters.
2. Durable Power of Attorney
for Health Care Decisions.
With this document, if you cant make health care decisions yourself, another person of your choice can make a broad range of decisions for you. These decisions cover virtually everything to do with medical matters, such as selecting doctors, hospitals, treatments, procedures or medications.
3. Health Care Treatment
Directive (Living Will).
This document concerns whether or not life support should be withdrawn in the case of a patient who is terminally ill. It states your wishes regarding this issue.
Without these powers of attorney, you may need a court-appointed guardian to handle financial matters and a guardian to handle health care decisions. In that event, a court would control your personal and financial life. A judge would have to approve your decisions and expenses. This situation can easily be avoided if you act now. A qualified estate planning and elder law attorney can help put plans in place far in advance, so they can have the greatest impact. This way, you will have the tools you need and the comfort of knowing your loved one will be in responsible hands when the time comes.