The new year brings promise, hope and often a commitment to change and plan ahead for the future. But what if you find yourself no longer able to make important decisions about your everyday life, much less your future? Dementia, a general term for a decline in a person’s mental ability which is severe enough to interfere with daily life, is a diagnosis that can bring fear and uncertainty to any family. Millions of Americans have some form of dementia, and millions of more Americans will develop some form of dementia as our population continues to age.
Different types of dementia may progress at different paces, which makes it important to consider the topic of estate planning fairly quickly for persons prone to or in the early stages of dementia. Receiving a “diagnosis” of dementia does not necessarily mean that it is too late to create an estate plan. It is important, however, to act quickly to ensure that you have sufficient time to outline your wishes and create an estate plan to provide for your needs.
Here are just a few legal documents that you should work with your estate planning attorney to draft in 2016…
Durable Power of Attorney
This gives authority to an individual that you appoint to make financial decisions for you. This includes the everyday basics such as writing checks and paying bills, to handling tax returns, and even the possible, future sale of your home. A Durable Power of Attorney remains in place if you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself. A Non-Durable Power of Attorney terminates if you become incapacitated.
Once you’ve created your Durable Power of Attorney take the time to visit with your financial advisor(s) to make them aware, there may be additional forms that are required by the dealer or wire house as well, allowing them to more easily work with the individual you’ve appointed.
Advance Health Care Directive
An Advanced Health Care Directive is a common compliment to a Durable Power of Attorney for health care decisions. It allows you to make personal choices about treatments, doctors, and other health-related matters ahead of time, and the individual you’ve appointed in your Durable Power of Attorney to voice those decisions in the future.
A living trust makes it easier for another to manage your assets. The trustee must of course adhere to your specific instructions. It is also useful in states with arduous probate procedures as a living trust may allow the estate to avoid probate when distributing your property.
About Oakstone Law, PL
Oakstone Law PL was founded by Bob Kleinknecht. A member of the Florida Family Trust Company Subcommittee, the Estate Tax & Trust Planning (ETTP) Committee and the Real Property, Probate & Trust Law (RPPTL) Section of the Florida Bar, Kleinknecht has 15 years’ experience.
Prior to founding Oakstone law, he spent more than eight years serving as a personal, in-house estate, tax and charitable planning attorney for a Forbes 400 family in New York and Florida. Before that he was an estate planning and estate settlement attorney with prominent firms in Boston and Washington, D.C. after beginning his career with a boutique firm in Naples, Florida.
Licensed in Florida and Massachusetts, Kleinknecht has developed a practice model that eliminates billing by the hour and offers a streamlined, customized client process supported by technology, security and a personal approach.