Estate planning for a loved one who is struggling with cognitive decline is not an easy task. Your loved one might have memory issues that make it difficult for them to remember names and faces. At this point, it can become difficult or impossible to modify an estate plan. Therefore, when you are planning a will, it's a good idea to speak with an estate attorney before doing so.
What Happens When There's No Will
If your loved one passes away before creating an estate, they will have died "intestate." Under these circumstances, the estate will be subjected to intestacy rules and the estate will not be distributed based on the wishes of your loved one. Therefore, it's important to do everything you can to update the will. Fortunately, an estate lawyer can help you with this.
Your Conversation with an Estate Lawyer
An estate attorney will assist you and your senior with creating a plan that is right for them. They will educate you on the current estate planning laws and how they might affect your individual circumstances.
For example, you and your loved one might wish to create a power of attorney that will designate someone else in your family as an "agent" who is allowed to make important medical decisions. The agent will be able to communicate with doctors and other healthcare professionals to discuss the patient's health.
One important matter to clarify is whether or not your loved one should be resuscitated. This determines whether medical professionals will perform CPR if your loved one's heart stops beating or they stop breathing. A living will might also be necessary that spells out the wishes of your loved one so that their end-of-life wishes can be met.
Financial Decision-Making Before Death
Planning one's finances and who will inherit which assets can be very difficult when suffering from a memory disorder. However, it's possible to have a document created that provides an agent with the ability to make financial decisions. This is referred to as a durable power of attorney for finances.
Another option is a revocable trust. A trustee is responsible for the management of the finances of your loved one and must follow the instructions found in the document. Regardless of which option you choose, it's important to make a quick decision so that your loved one can have their wishes carried out.
For more information, contact an estate attorney near you.