What do you do when a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia? Maria Shriver knows the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand. Her beloved father Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps and one-time candidate for Vice President of the United States, died of the disease in 2011 after being diagnosed in 2003. Here are some steps you can take after a dementia diagnosis.
Often called “the long goodbye,” Alzheimer’s disease affects more than five million Americans and its prevalence will continue to grow with the aging population. Shriver reported for NBC.com on the five things Alzheimer’s or dementia victims should do once a diagnosis has been confirmed:
- Execute powers of attorney and advance medical directives. These allow for the designation of a trusted person or persons to make financial and medical decisions before cognitive impairments worsen.
- Create a will. If you do not have a will that designates how your assets will be distributed upon your death, you need to create one. If one exists, check it over for any necessary updates to beneficiaries or the addition of any assets acquired after the original will was made.
- Create an estate plan. Asset preservation is usually critical for those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. An estate planning attorney can help preserve assets for future long-term care.
- Communicate. Once diagnosed, you should have a conversation with your family about your decisions for your care. Let them know where important documents are stored. As part of your legacy planning, we can help you capture and pass on your own story and wishes for your loved ones through a special recording we provide for each of our clients.
- Do it sooner rather than later. Alzheimer’s and other dementia diseases are progressive illnesses, so prompt action is necessary to put these protections in place for you and your loved ones.
A Note from the Attorney, Stan Pierchoski:
The practice of law is a second career for me. After obtaining Master of Science degrees in both Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering, I worked in the Nuclear Power Industry for 15 years. Always having an interest in law, I attended and graduated from law school and founded the Pierchoski Law Firm in 2002 in Pulaski, TN. For several years I practiced as a criminal defense, trial attorney. After my parents passed I became interested in Trust and Estate Law and felt a strong calling to change my practice to the Estate Planning area.
For years I have been exclusively doing trust writing and wealth planning and have become proficient at it. Over the last several years my practice has evolved to serve all age groups including elders and Medicaid Planning. I am always open to your questions and am more than happy to chat with you about your concerns so give me a call or stop by my office. You’ll be glad you did!