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Dementia: Planning for Incapacity

I came across an interesting blog post on the Los Angeles Times. The post didn't discuss estate planning, per se. But it did present some issues of interest to New York estate planning lawyers.

Recent research has shown that married adults who care for a spouse with dementia are much more likely to develop dementia themselves. These findings were published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Okay, so where's the relevance to New York estate lawyers, you ask?

Here's what you need to understand-- estate planning is a lot more than just a simple will. Dementia is something you need to plan for as well.

Wills and trusts are a lot more than documents that emerge upon death. They can be documents that tell others how to proceed in the event that you, yourself, are incapable of making valuable decisions.

We've already discussed the healthcare directive in another blog post. The healthcare directive is a living will that dictates the various end-of-life decisions that may need to be made when you are incapable of speaking for yourself.

A durable power of attorney falls within this realm of document. It serves somewhat of the same purpose-- it essentially designates another person to speak on your behalf, if you are deemed incapable to speak for yourself.

One issue that often comes up with the durable power of attorney is the determination that you may be "incapable."

Who decides when you are incapable? How is that decision reached?

These are all questions best left to your NY estate attorney. New York estate planning attorneys are very good at helping your resolve these issues. One technique used by many of them involves the creation of a panel of loved ones who collectively come to the decision that you are incapable. Or, alternatively, you could designate your family doctor to make that decision as to when you are incapable.

These are all simple suggestions. Your NY estate attorney would obviously have a better picture, taking into account all the facts and circumstances.

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