July 12, 2016
Creating a ‘Shadow’ Estate Plan for the Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
Even if you don’t receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, you could deal with other chronic illnesses. You may need a plan customized to a particular illness
Most Michigan residents want to spend their retirement years playing golf and traveling, but a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s can change your leisure and health plans. Senior citizens often have to adopt incapacitation strategies to handle their affairs if they suffer with dementia. Having a ‘shadow’ estate plan that kicks in if a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s ever becomes present can give you and your family peace of mind. An elder law and estate planning attorney can help with asset preservation while making sure the right people make your financial and medical decisions. For people who don’t have adequate protection with a long-term care policy and other protection, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is often disastrous. Your personal wealth should end up in the hands of your beneficiaries. According to an article by urindependent.com that cited the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s. By 2050, experts expect those numbers to double or even triple. A piece by lifehealthpro.com suggests meeting with an elder attorney while you are still in good health to discuss a shadow plan since the disease affects one in eight families.
Gathering important documents
After creating a shadow plan such as a retirement plan trust with the help of an elder attorney, it’s important to gather the legal documents such as your will and estate plan as well as important medical and bank documents, brokerage accounts or files. Your elder attorney and trusted family members should have copies of the records.
Managing the home
If you become incapacitated, you will need to have a plan already in place to sell your home or use it for some other purpose. Legal planning for property management is important whether you are able to stay in your home with assistance or have to go into a long-term care facility or nursing home. Some of the legal options for property management to consider include trust agreements, jointly held accounts and durable powers-of-attorney.
Planning for medical decisions
Another major component of estate planning when factoring in Alzheimer’s is future medical decisions. While you are still healthy, talk to a reliable Michigan elder attorney to execute and advance directive for medical decision-making. You will be able to make sure others honor your medical wishes if mentally incapacitated. You can also designate a loved one to make medical decisions on your behalf.
Securing long-term care insurance
Even if you don’t receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, you could deal with other chronic illnesses. You may need a plan customized to a particular illness, according to a report by Forbes. Long term care insurance is part of your asset protection plan. If you put off sitting down with an elder law attorney, you aren’t alone. Forbes cited one survey that showed only 35 percent of Americans have a will and just 21 percent have a trust set up. According to an article by Kiplinger, the costs for caring for a person with Alzheimer’s is overwhelming. Long term care insurance policies often provide custodial care. Just make sure you examine the home-care requirements for your policy.
Making arrangements for the last several years of your life is emotionally draining. No one wants to see strangers poorly handling their estate or making medical decisions. An elder attorney will help you with important end-of-life document and create strategies so you can avoid probate.
We can protect your assets from probate, taxes and the high costs associated with chronic illnesses or Alzheimer’s. By avoiding probate, you will also keep your affairs private. For more information about a shadow plan and what you need to do to protect yourself and your family as you age, please contact us.