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Proper estate planning key with dementia

When dementia strikes, a person can lose track of many things in their life. Not only might a person start forgetting everyday things, but they might also start neglecting their finances or giving money to organizations that they might never have wanted to donate to. All of these things can make it difficult for their eventual caretakers to sort out.

Because dementia can sometimes go unnoticed, it is important to speak with elderly relatives early and help them get the financial and estate planning legal documents they need in place before they are unable to care for themselves. This will allow a relative to care for their finances and make sure their wishes are followed if they aren't mentally capable of making decisions any longer.

While it can be a hard topic to address with parents, talking about estate planning can make it much easier to care for them once the time comes. Suggesting that your parents set up automatic payment can be a way to avoid some financial penalties if symptoms of their disease go unnoticed.

It is also important to make sure that when symptoms are discovered, caretakers are able to help their parents with their finances and make sure they get the medical care that they need. Having all the right documents in place ahead of time can provide reassurance that when an elderly relative becomes symptomatic of a degenerative disease they can quickly get back on track with their finances with the help of a caretaker.

Source: Time, "When Dementia Derails Your Parent's Finances," Suzanne De Baca, June 6, 2012

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