Estate Planning and Dementia: What You Should Consider
Dec. 28, 2022
Having a comprehensive estate plan allows you to leave instructions about how your estate should be administered and final affairs settled when you die. While a competent person may be able to execute an estate plan, parents in the early stages of dementia may face various issues when drafting their estate plan. A practiced Texas estate planning attorney can enlighten you about how to discuss estate planning with parents who have cognitive impairments.
With more than three decades of extensive experience, James P. Peterson has the diligence and resources to guide and advise clients in estate planning-related matters. He is well-informed about situations involving cognitive impairment and can educate you on the right way to speak about estate planning with your parents. James P. Peterson Attorney at Law proudly serves clients throughout San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Boerne, Texas.
Common Estate Planning Issues for People With Dementia
Dementia is a general term for a group of conditions that are characterized by unclear thinking, loss of memory, and impairment in the person's ability to solve problems or think. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. A person with dementia, Alzheimer's disease, or another form of cognitive impairment may experience the following issues during estate planning:
They may find it difficult to communicate or express themselves.
They may forget about some assets, property, or safe deposit boxes.
They may forget to claim insurance benefits, security deposits, or dividends.
They may be unable to choose a designated beneficiary.
They may experience increased difficulty in organizing, reasoning, or planning.
They may be unable to create a valid estate plan without a sound mind.
They may be unable to choose their preferred medical treatments or procedures.
They may be unable to understand key details or make intelligent decisions.
Through an estate plan, parents outline their exact wishes to loved ones. Hence, as a child, it is essential that you find a way to discuss this delicate matter with your parents. With an open and honest discussion, you can enlighten them about the importance of getting their affairs in order and preparing for life's uncertainties.
Tips for Speaking With a Parent About Estate Planning
A lot of individuals find it difficult to initiate the topic of estate planning with their family members. Here are some insightful tips for speaking with your parents about estate planning:
Bring up the conversation with a reference point, such as a recent family gathering, anniversary, wedding, or burial.
Enlighten them about the benefits of estate planning or putting their final affairs in order.
Educate them about their various legal options concerning estate planning and advance healthcare directives.
Discuss crucial estate planning topics, such as wills, living trusts, advance directives, powers of attorney, letters of intent, beneficiary designations, business succession planning, and burial/funeral plans.
Discuss their preferences about medical treatments, healthcare procedures, and end-of-life decisions.
From time to time, check in with your parents to make sure they understand their options and can make intelligent decisions.
It can be beneficial to not talk with them alone. Let your other siblings and loved ones be involved in the conversation.
Discussing the topic of estate planning with parents can be quite difficult. Regardless, everyone can benefit from having this delicate conversation as soon as possible. A practiced attorney can explore your possible options and help facilitate the discussion.
Communicating Plans and Identifying Important Information
Unfortunately, many individuals with dementia or cognitive impairments can easily forget their assets and other crucial information. It is your duty to help your loved ones locate all of their belongings, assets, savings, and investments.
Also, you should have an honest conversation about their end-of-life plans and estate plans with them. Once you have communicated about their plans with them, located assets and documents, and identified vital information, you can help your parents draft a well-detailed estate plan with the help of an attorney.
Protect Your Family's Future
Discovering that your parent has been diagnosed with dementia can be challenging and emotional. Nonetheless, the sooner you have an important conversation about estate planning, the better off everyone will be. James P. Peterson Attorney at Law is committed to offering experienced legal services and guiding individuals through the intricacies of estate planning when dementia is involved.
As your legal counsel, James P. Peterson can educate you about how to discuss estate planning with parents and help make the conversation as seamless as possible. In addition, he will outline a strategic plan to help your parents get their affairs in order and work diligently to achieve their goals of transferring accumulated assets to loved ones when they're gone.
Do you need proper guidance in creating an estate plan for your parents with dementia? Contact James P. Peterson Attorney at Law today to schedule a one-on-one consultation. He can offer you the knowledgeable legal guidance you need and help facilitate the conversation. The firm proudly serves clients throughout San Antonio, New Braunfels, and Boerne, Texas.