Financial Actions To Be Taken if Mom Has Alzheimer’s
Because of the debilitating impact of Alzheimer’s and related forms of dementia on a senior’s ability to make sound financial decisions, the sooner you can get financial matters in order the better, says The (Florence, AL) Courier Journal’s recent article entitled “4 Financial Steps When Dealing with Alzheimer’s.”
Here are four important steps to take:
- Watch for signs of unusual financial activity. Discrepancies with money can frequently be a signal of cognitive challenges. Red flags may include difficulty paying a proper amount for an item, leaving bills unpaid, or making odd purchases.
- Name a power of attorney. Many people are hesitant to give control of their personal finances to another. However, it’s important to have an honest discussion with your family member and discuss looking out for their interests. Identify a person who can be trusted to manage day-to-day money matters, if necessary. This person should be designated as financial power-of-attorney, with the authority to sign checks, pay bills and monitor the senior’s finances. Keep in mind, however, that not all powers of attorney are the same. Being penny wise and pound foolish with a power of attorney at this state of your loved one’s life can cost thousands of dollars because you will likely have to interdict your loved one anyway despite the power of attorney.
- Prepare proper documentation. A senior must be deemed competent to complete or update estate planning documents. It is important to be certain that the named beneficiaries are up-to-date. Time may be short, since a person with Alzheimer’s is in cognitive decline; an attorney will not allow your loved one to sign documents unless the attorney is confident that your loved one has “legal capacity.”
- Examine care expense and how it will be covered. Create a strategy for how the senior will be cared for, if their cognitive abilities deteriorate over time. Make decisions about whether specialized care will be needed (either in the home or in a nursing or assisted living facility). Long-term care insurance should also be considered to help with costs. Speak to an elder law attorney about trusts that can be established to provide for care for the disabled individual, while still protecting the family’s assets.
- MOST IMPORTANT, SEE AN ELDER LAW ATTORNEY. Delaying for too long to address financial issues after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can make an already stressful and emotional time even worse. Much worse. In fact, all assets of the loved one can be fretted away by delay. You and your loved one need a long term care plan, but also a long term financial plan. This can be developed with the help of a good Elder Law attorney.
Take action to address the situation as soon as you are aware that there may be a problem. Even creating a plan for addressing these issues before a form of dementia is firmly diagnosed make sense.
See an experienced elder law attorney for guidance on the Financial Actions To Be Taken if Mom Has Alzheimer’s.
BOOK A CALL with Ted Vicknair if you or a loved one you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or Parkinson’s, especially if the loved one is in the nursing home or needs sitters at home. The longer the delay, the worse financially the situation can become.
Reference: The (Florence, AL) Courier Journal (June 8, 2021) “4 Financial Steps When Dealing with Alzheimer’s”