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4 Estate Planning Tips to Plan for Cognitive Decline

Estate planning attorneys work to protect clients by creating advance medical directives, appointing a power of attorney and sorting through trust agreements, explains an article from Kiplinger, “Is Your Estate Ready if You Experience Cognitive Decline?”

Most consider estate planning a tool for distributing assets after death. However, it serves many purposes during life, including planning for cognitive decline and incapacity.

As we age, our cognitive abilities may start to decline, which needs to be accounted for in investment portfolios. Many loved ones see this decline but aren’t comfortable speaking with family members about such a sensitive topic. Large financial institutions and skilled financial advisors have recognized this and created plans to prevent losses from poor decision-making. In addition to planning finances, meeting with an estate planning attorney and preparing for cognitive decline and incapacity is essential. Here are some of the topics to cover.

Appoint a Power of Attorney. This person will be responsible for making legal and financial decisions for you if you cannot. They need to be someone you trust implicitly with good fiscal skills.

Create a Living Will. It’s better to outline the medical treatment you’d want to receive if you cannot make these decisions while still competent. You can also designate someone else to make decisions on your behalf when you are incapacitated.

Discuss and plan for Long Term Care. What would your family need to do if you were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia and required care and supervision around the clock? Discuss living arrangements and finances to pay for care as part of your estate plan.

Create a plan for your estate. How will your wealth and assets be distributed after your death? Planning in advance saves your family from scrambling to figure out how you want your assets to be distributed, what bills need to be paid on your behalf to protect real estate property and what your wishes are for a funeral or memorial service.

These conversations are not easy or enjoyable. However, they are crucial to protecting yourself and your family from the unexpected and the inevitable. Making a plan for yourself and being prepared is the most you can do, and it’s also the only thing you can do. Book a call with Vick Law, P.C. today to put your estate plan in place sooner rather than later.

Reference: Kiplinger (Feb. 7, 2024) “Is Your Estate Ready if You Experience Cognitive Decline?”

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