Yes. Even those with severe mental health conditions like Alzheimer’s can engage in effective estate planning. The key here is ensuring that the person creating the estate plan has the requisite mental capacity to create legally binding legal documents. This means that they must:
- Understand the nature and extent of their assets.
- Understand their relationships with named beneficiaries and heirs.
- Comprehend how their estate plan disposes of their assets to those set to inherit from them.
But what can you do to ensure that you or a loved one make the best estate plan possible given an Alzheimer’s diagnosis?
Steps to take when Alzheimer’s is implicated in estate planning
There’s a lot to do to protect your or your loved one’s best interests here. This includes:
- Planning as early as possible so that you can minimize any arguments that you lacked mental capacity to create your estate plan.
- Creating a power of attorney and health care directive so that your decision-making is left with someone you trust in the event that you become incapacitated.
- Considering the transfer of property to a healthy spouse so that those assets are effectively removed from the estate plan and any issues that might arise.
- Thoroughly documenting your or your loved one’s condition at the time that estate planning documents are created.
- Securing a mental health expert who can account to the fact that the requisite mental capacity exists to create a valid estate plan.
- Having several witnesses present at the time of execution so that they can attest to your or your loved one’s mental clarity at the time of estate planning documents are created and signed.
Creating the right estate plan after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis
There’s a lot to do when you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Don’t let estate planning slip past you. Instead, be sure to thoroughly assess your estate planning options and how to carry them out appropriately so that you protect yourself, your assets, and your loved ones.