Planning Tools for Alzheimer's Patients
This guide describes basic tools Alzheimer's patients should consider in planning for care and asset management. Your ability to use these tools may depend on how advanced your symptoms are. These tools should help preserve control as long as possible before handing it over to someone you trust.
Advance DirectiveAn advance directive allows you to both (a) name someone who will make your health care decisions when you can't make them, and (b) state your treatment decisions in advance. Your advance directive will remove certain monumental questions from the shoulders of your family members and will give you a chance to decide other issues with due consideration. Perhaps the greatest value of an advance directive is telling your family when you do or don't want life support.
Durable General Power of AttorneyA durable general power of attorney empowers someone else to handle your financial affairs. For Alzheimer's patients, "springing" powers of attorney are often best. These documents can be written to take effect only after a doctor (or more than one) says in writing that you are unable to make decisions in your own best interest. This structure allows you to keep exclusive control of your decisions as long as you are able.
Revocable Living TrustThe living trust is another way for you to retain control as long as you are able to make your own decisions. Once the trust document is written, you change the name of the "owner" of the assets to be the trust. As long as you are able, you manage your own assets in the trust. Once you can no longer handle your affairs, someone you've chosen in advance steps in to manage the assets on your behalf. That person will have as much control as they need over the assets in the trust to manage them for your benefit. The revocable living trust allows the management of your assets to transition smoothly to the next person. The trust document will also specify how you want the assets handled after your death.