Alzheimer’s Disease Planning

Many Americans are diagnosed with an unsuspected serious illness that catches them worried and in deep thoughts about their future and the future of their family. Alzheimer’s disease, a complicated and chronic illness which is suffered by about five million Americans, is one of these serious illnesses.

Alzheimer’s disease, the most common root of dementia in older people, is an irremediable, progressive brain disease which gradually destroys an individual’s memory, thinking capabilities, as well as the ability to perform the simplest daily activities. Once this disease leads to the most severe stage of dementia, it will render a person totally dependent on others even on the most basic tasks.

Because Alzheimer’s disease causes a person to lose his or her ability to think clearly medical and legal experts, therefore, advise those recently diagnosed with it to study and update their financial and health care plans while they still have the ability to make clear and meaningful decisions. These plans usually include the drafting of a living trust, a will and advance instructions that will ensure the carrying out of their health care and financial wishes during the later stages of the disease and, eventually, death.

The legality of documents to be prepared naturally calls for the assistance of a knowledgeable lawyer who is familiar with the laws of the state where the patient resides. Besides making sure that all plans are made in compliance with the state’s laws, your lawyer, as pointed out on the website of Peck Ritchey, LLC, should also help the patient: identify and complete all necessary legal documents in the drafting or updating of the will, trust or deed; make plans for medical and treatment choices; specify how he/she wishes his/her plans for finances and property carried out; preserve his/her assets while caring for a loved one; be eligible for government aid; and, assign the right person who will make decisions on his/her behalf when he/she no longer can.

Being diagnosed with an Alzheimer’s disease is emotionally wrenching, but so will leaving your loved ones with a bleak future. This is why a patient diagnosed with Alzheimer’s will need all the medical and legal assistance that he/she needs to make sure that everything will be in place when the disease casts its full effects or takes his/her life eventually. Though the days ahead may be filled with worry and/or fear, knowing that the financial future of your loved ones will be taken care of, especially when you can no longer be with them, would, (hopefully) somehow, lessen any worry in your and their lives.

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Estate Planning

So many Americans conceive estate planning or drafting a will as a concern only of the tremendously wealthy and of those with huge properties and big businesses. The truth is, estate planning can be done by anyone who has any type of precious belongings and assets, such as jewelry, furniture, a car, a house, investments, a pension plan, a life insurance or retirement savings. An asset does not have to be worth a huge sum of money for even a piece of jewelry, such as a ring or an old watch that has been passed on from many generations, can be an item incorporated in a will.

Basically, estate planning begins with writing a will. The testator (the person making the will) puts in the will everything that he/she would want to pass on to his/her spouse and child/children and which asset or thing of value goes to whom (sometimes a testator can also indicate a condition that an heir first needs to comply with to enable him/her to earn whatever is intended for him/her). The testator can also include in the will, his/her: chosen guardian for his/her minor child; health-care proxy (the person responsible in making medical decisions on his/her behalf in case he/she gets incapacitated); and, executor, that is, the person who will be in charge of the administration of his/her estate. This executor will also have to perform all of the testator’s wishes that are contained in the will, as well as settle all of the testator’s unpaid debts; only after all debts have been paid can the (remaining) assets be distributed to the inheritors.

Through estate planning, individuals are able to arrange the disposal of their assets and properties in ways that will greatly benefit their loved ones, maximize the value of their assets by having taxes and other expenses reduced, and eliminate doubts over the administration of a probate.

To keep finding excuses to be able to postpone the drafting of an estate plan, such as still being in the prime of health or age, so that no plan is actually drafted until the person’s death, will result to the state having control over the distribution of the assets and/or properties left behind – a state authority called the Law of Intestacy.

It is easy to have doubts on the necessity of drafting an estate plan and even if an individual may be willing to draft one, he/she may have questions regarding its legality and what should be its actual content. Legal professionals, such as Chicago estate planning lawyers, would be some of the best persons whose counsel and help will be of real value to anyone who has clarifications about estate planning before finally drafting one.

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