Written by contributing author Attorney Shawn Dontigney at Fournier Legal Services.
The Alzheimer’s Association states there are currently over 6 million Americans with Alzheimer’s. Consequently, it is an appropriate time to remind those without an estate plan or those with an outdated plan to establish one or have their plan reviewed. Procrastinating on this important part of planning for your future is easy, but it is better to address it now than wait until it becomes too late. Here are four things to consider when preparing your estate plan:
- Expertise. Many are unprepared to deal with the legal and financial consequences of a serious illness such as Alzheimer’s disease. Our estate planning team encourages those recently diagnosed with a serious illness, which is expected to cause declining mental and physical health, to review and update their financial and health care measures as soon as possible. We can prepare wills, living trusts, and other planning documents in a manner which fulfills your late-stage or end-of-life health care and financial decisions while adhering to applicable law.
- Competency. A complication of Alzheimer’s and other dementias is that the person may lack “competency” or the ability to think clearly. This change affects the ability to make healthcare, legal, and financial decisions. This is why it is important to plan now while you are competent, rather than wait until a later time when you are not.
- Changes in Circumstances. We can plan all we want, but life may throw us a curveball when least expected. Even if you have an existing estate plan, remember that laws and your life change. Illness, relocation, a divorce, or a birth or death in the family can influence how documents are prepared and maintained. Life changes may also mean a document needs to be revised to remain valid.
- Advance Directives. Advance directives are documents that communicate a person’s wishes regarding health care. Advance directives take effect after someone no longer can make their own decisions, as is often the case for those suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia. Such directives may include a durable power of attorney for health care, a living will, or a do not resuscitate order.
For assistance with any legal matters related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services at email@example.com or 860.670.3535 now for a consultation and planning session.
Joseph E. Fournier is an Attorney and a CPA who has more than twenty years of experience in a variety of business legal matters, including start-ups and company formations, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, contracts, employment law, commercial litigation, tax planning and audit defense, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He also handles estate planning matters, such as business succession planning, wills, trusts, and probate.