Have you recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease? We know this diagnosis can be disturbing and overwhelming. What should you do now?  How do you learn more about Alzheimer’s? How can you be prepared for your future? Be aware that you are not alone. In fact, there is a worldwide effort to find a cure and to help support people in need during Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. It is highly recommended that you consult with a Florida attorney who specializes in elder law and estate planning to help guide you through the estate planning process and ensure that all legal requirements are met and that your wishes are respected and followed.

To begin, Alzheimer’s is a brain disease and is actually the most common form of dementia. Dementia is a general term for memory loss and degradation of basic cognitive abilities. Be mindful that it is not a normal part of the aging process. Because the brain serves as the central computer for all of the body’s functions, affected individuals lose the ability to perform even simple daily tasks.  According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease currently affects more than 5.8 million Americans and 50 million people worldwide. It is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and, unfortunately, it is estimated that someone dies of Alzheimer’s every 65 seconds.

With your new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, what should you do and how can you prepare for the future? Begin by creating a Florida estate plan with your qualified Florida estate planning attorney. An estate plan is especially important for anyone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. These individuals may have difficulty making decisions or may not be able to communicate their wishes effectively as the disease progresses.

One important tool in estate planning for individuals with Alzheimer’s is a power of attorney. With a durable power of attorney for finances an individual can appoint an agent to manage his or her financial affairs if he or she is unable to do so. Another tool is a healthcare power of attorney that allows an individual to appoint an agent to make healthcare decisions on his or her behalf if he or she is unable. A living will, another important tool in the Florida estate plan, can document an individual’s wishes for end-of-life care.

When you meet with your Florida estate planning attorney he may discuss creating a trust in your Florida estate plan. A trust can be used to manage assets and ensure that they are used for the benefit of the individual with Alzheimer’s and his or her loved ones. Trusts can also be used to protect assets from creditors, and to plan for Medicaid eligibility, as well as avoid probate.

With your recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease it is important to have a plan for long-term care in place. Your Florida estate planning attorney can suggest and guide you in all the options for care, such as assisted living, nursing home or in-home care, and in making financial arrangements to pay for this care.

Planning for the future is critical to ensure that your goals for the end of life are achieved. We know this article may raise more questions that it answers.  We do telephone, computer, and face-to-face appointments. Our face-to-face appointments are held outside in the open air (frequently selected by clients for document signing) and inside our office conference room. We follow all CDC guidelines. Our office procedures adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols and are designed and enhanced by medical review and air quality engineering.