Alzheimer’s diagnoses have become sadly commonplace in today’s society. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in eight American families will be affected by this dreaded disease.
Many estate planning clients have adopted incapacitation strategies, to help handle their affairs in case they become incapable of handling them. Alzheimer’s, with its creeping deterioration of the brain, is different from many other diseases, as its gradual onset provides people with an opportunity to react proactively to the limits they will endure in their future.
One possibility for clients who are starting to get concerned about Alzheimer’s is that they could create a shadow plan, one that would come into effect if the diagnosis ever comes about. Here are a few things that clients should keep in mind if they are presented with – or fear being presented with – a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s:
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It’s important to have all of the client’s legal documents and other papers in one place. Wherever these papers are located, some trusted person – a family member in most cases, but it would be helpful if a financial advisor did as well – should know exactly where they are, and what is included in them. If they are in a safe, the family member should have the combination; if they are in a safe deposit box, the family member should have access to a key.
There are two basic types of documents that need to be kept at hand. The first group, related to the financial well-being of the client, including the client’s will, bank and brokerage accounts, insurance policies, etc., aren’t specific to the Alzheimer’s patient.