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Estate Planning & Dementia: What You Should Consider 

Law Office of Rodney Gould Oct. 28, 2022

Establishing an estate plan allows a person to provide detailed instructions about how their property and assets should be distributed to beneficiaries when they're gone. Also, this will help mitigate potential issues and disputes between survivors during estate settlement.  

However, many different issues often arise when a parent in the beginning stages of cognitive impairment needs to create an estate plan. A California estate planning attorney has the resources to educate you about how to discuss estate planning with parents who have dementia.  

The Law Office of Rodney Gould provides clear guidance and advocacy to individuals and families in the legal matters of estate planning. Attorney Rodney Gould is practiced to help clients in these specific situations and can provide you with some insightful tips to speak with your parents about estate planning. The firm is proud to serve clients across Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Studio City, California. 

Common Estate Planning Issues for People With Dementia  

Dementia is a medical condition that affects the brain. It is usually characterized by memory loss, unclear thinking, or a decline in a person's thinking abilities and problem-solving skills. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. 

According to statistics from the Alzheimer's Association, about 690,000 people aged 65 years and older are living with Alzheimer's in California. Here are some common estate planning issues for people with dementia: 

  • Forgetting about assets and a safe deposit box. 

  • Forgetting to claim security deposits, insurance proceeds, and dividends. 

  • Difficulty communicating or finding words. 

  • Inability to understand important details or make informed decisions. 

  • Inability to establish a valid estate plan unless they're of sound mind. 

  • Difficulty in reasoning, organizing, or planning. 

  • Inability to choose a designated beneficiary 

  • Inability to make decisions about their health or preferred medical procedures. 

However, estate planning is crucial for everyone – regardless of the person’s condition. Therefore, you need to find a way to discuss the issue with them and make them understand the benefits of getting their affairs in order. 

Tips for Speaking With a Parent About Estate Planning 

Surprisingly, many people are often reluctant to bring up the topic of estate planning with loved ones. If you intend to discuss the subject with your parents, here are some tips to guide you: 

  • Initiate the conversation with a prompt, such as a wedding, anniversary, recent family gathering, or funeral. 

  • Talk about why the subject of estate planning is important. 

  • Talk about their preferences regarding healthcare, medical procedures, and end-of-life decisions. 

  • Enlighten them about the different estate planning and advance care directives that are available to them. 

  • Cover key estate planning topics – including a will, trust, power of attorney, advance healthcare directives, business succession planning, beneficiary designations, letter of intent, and burial plans. 

  • Check in with them regularly to ensure that they know their options and are able to make informed decisions. 

  • Include or carry your other siblings along with the discussion. 

Talking to your parents about estate planning can be challenging. Nonetheless, the sooner you have this important conversation, the better for their financial future. A strategic lawyer can educate you about how to bring up the discussion, tell you about their available options, and help facilitate the conversation. 

Communicating Plans and Identifying Important Information  

As mentioned earlier, forgetting about assets and other vital information is among the key estate planning concerns for people with dementia. You need to help them locate all their assets, belongings, investments, and savings. Also, you should communicate their estate plans and end-of-life plans with them. By locating all their assets and documents and communicating plans with your parents with dementia, you can assist them in drafting a comprehensive estate plan. 

Estate Planning Guidance You Can Trust  

Learning that your parent or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia can be emotional and devastating. Regardless, it is important that you help them address estate planning matters promptly – during the early stages of the cognitive impairment. An estate planning attorney can help you through these challenging times.  

Attorney Rodney Gould is a lawyer with the knowledge and compassion to help and direct individuals and families through the hurdles of estate planning when dementia is involved. Also, Attorney Rodney Gould has all the tools to craft a detailed checklist for the estate planning process and work to address your loved one’s needs and concerns.  

If you need assistance drafting an estate plan for your parents with dementia, contact the Law Office of Rodney Gould today to arrange a simple consultation. The firm proudly serves clients across Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, and Studio City, California.