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Dementia and estate planning: Steps to take now

A serious medical diagnosis could significantly impact how one considers the future. In cases where an individual receives a diagnosis of dementia, he or she will want to move quickly to put certain plans in place for his benefit and the benefit of Louisiana family members and beneficiaries. Estate planning is especially important for those who may not be able to express wishes in the future.

After learning of a diagnosis of dementia, now is the time to get advance directives in place if they are not already. There are specific documents that allow one to outline his or her preferences for medical care that may be needed in the future. There are also documents that name a specific person to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated individual, called powers of attorney. These can be for finances or health care.

The benefit to making these decisions now is that they will eliminate the need for contentious disputes among family members regarding a loved one’s preferences. It can also reduce the need for a guardianship hearing at some point. These are hearings in which a judge will decide if an individual is truly incapacitated. This proceeding can be stressful for the family, and it can unnecessarily delay care. Planning now can help avoid complications long-term.

A diagnosis of dementia is devastating for a Louisiana family. While this is sobering news, there are steps one can take that will provide a sense of security and peace of mind. Serious medical issues often necessitate certain estate planning measures and changes to existing plans.