It can be hard to know what to do after you or someone you love has been diagnosed with dementia. Many people react by making appointments with specialists, looking for more information online, or even joining a support group to help them through the next months of their lives. Unfortunately, it’s easy to overlook one of the most critical steps to take: creating a comprehensive life care plan.

Make a Life Care Plan to Regain Control After a Dementia Diagnosis

Dementia Diagnosis on a Tablet With a StethoscopeThe unpredictable nature of dementia is the biggest reason to make a plan as soon as possible. When you meet with an elder law attorney, you’re taking control of your future and making the effects of the disease easier on yourself and your family.

Our experienced legal team can help you:

  • Make a plan for long-term care. You may not need it right away, but it’s always better to start long-term care (LTC) planning as soon as possible. You may need in-home nursing care or a stay in an assisted living facility to attend to all of your personal needs. These services can be costly, and early Medicaid planning can cover a greater portion of the cost. We can protect your eligibility for Medicaid benefits and start your application, getting you the care you need without sacrificing your loved ones’ inheritances.
  • File your health care directives. Advance directives for health care allow people to choose the end-of-life treatment they want (and don't want) years in advance. These documents are included in your medical records and may be copied into your estate plan to guide your relatives if you’re incapacitated. If you become unable to make decisions, these documents are activated, and the person of your choosing will have legal control of your health, living arrangements, and medical treatment. Standard health care directives include a living will, a DNR, and a durable power of attorney for health care. A living will outlines your wishes for emergency medical intervention near the end of life, such as if you are permanently unconscious or unresponsive in hospice care. A do not resuscitate order (DNR) instructs health care professionals not to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if you stop breathing or your heart stops beating. A durable power of attorney for health care is a legal document that allows your chosen agent to make health care decisions when you can no longer do so.
  • Update your estate plan. It is vital that you complete your estate planning before your dementia has a chance to progress. Even if you have already created a last will and testament, other documents can give you better control over how and when your property is distributed to your heirs. For example, a trust can release a certain amount of funds to your heirs at different points in their lives, preventing them from spending their inheritances all at once. You could even create a pet trust to provide for a furry family member. It all depends on your needs and your specific situation.
  • Decide who will be put in charge. You will need to select trusted agents who will be legally appointed authority over you when you can no longer make decisions for yourself. In addition to choosing a health care advocate, you must name an executor for your estate, administrator of your trust (if you have one), and financial power of attorney. You may wish to choose the same person for all positions, different family members for different aspects of your care, or even an attorney to act on your behalf.

Planning Early Can Help You Avoid Legal Problems Over Your Estate

To be legally binding, the law requires you to be of sound mind when your documents are executed. The longer you wait to make these decisions, the more likely it is that your heirs will end up in a legal battle over your estate. In fact, your children and grandchildren could potentially file court actions to take control of your financial affairs while you’re still living.

At Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C., we can help you make the best of a difficult situation. We advise you on the possible options for your future care and financial security, giving you peace of mind for whatever lies ahead. Contact us today through our online form to learn how we can be of assistance.


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