Estate planning is an important part of preparing for the future that many people put off. Unfortunately, as people grow older, their ability to handle legal matters can sometimes diminish. If you have a parent who has Alzheimer's disease, it is likely that you will need to get involved with his or her estate planning. Here are some tips to ensure that your parent's estate is properly handled.
Get Medical Advice
Even though your parent has Alzheimer's disease, it is possible that he or she can help with making some decisions regarding the estate. To ascertain whether or not this is possible, talk to your parent's health care provider. The provider can assess your parent's cognitive functioning and determine if he or she can participate in estate planning.
If the provider does not believe that your parent is able to participate, ask him or her to complete an affidavit stating that medically, it is impossible for your parent to handle estate planning. The affidavit will be necessary for other aspects of the planning.
File for Power of Attorney
If your parent is capable of participating in estate planning, he or she needs to appoint someone to act as a legal and health care agent. The agent would be responsible for making financial, legal, and health care decisions. Your parent can choose one person to serve as the agent of both or divide the responsibilities up between two people.
Once the agent is chosen, your parent can file for a durable power of attorney. In the event that your parent is unable to make decisions, the agent can take over.
If your parent does not have the capabilities to participate in estate planning, then you need to choose an agent. The most important thing to remember is to choose someone who is responsible and capable of making sound decisions. You also need to factor in who your parent would most likely choose for the position.
Whether or not you choose to be your parent's agent, a motion for the power of attorney needs to be filed in the court. Since your parent is incapable of making this decision, you need to provide his or her medical care provider's affidavit to state this to the court.
An estate planning attorney can help with filing for the power of attorney and handle other estate planning matters. Consult with an attorney, such as Seiler & Parker PC, early in the process to avoid a rushed decision down the road.