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Alzheimer's diagnosis can be catalyst for estate planning

A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is life changing. You may have felt off for some time, and your concerns finally led to you getting a check-up from your doctor. Unfortunately, the news was not good, and you now face the rest of your life knowing that you have this incurable disease.

Fortunately, you still have control of the majority of your faculties and received a diagnosis early because you listened to your body and sought professional input about your medical concerns. Because you are still able to make sound decisions, you may be considering your estate plans.

Now is the time to start

If you have not yet created any type of estate plan, or you have made just the minimum effort and only created a will, your diagnosis is the perfect catalyst for either starting on a plan or updating your current plan to reflect more comprehensive wishes. It is likely that your disease will result in your needing various types of care and assistance, and you can use your estate plan to have an input in how to handle that care and assistance.

First, it is wise to utilize a power of attorney document to put someone in charge of making decisions on your behalf when you can no longer do so yourself. You can appoint someone who will make medical decisions for you and someone who will make financial decisions for you. You could choose to have separate individuals have these responsibilities or appoint the same person to both roles. It may be wise to discuss such appointments with your family members before making final decisions.

Address your health care wishes

Your estate plan can also allow you to provide input on health care that you would want to receive if certain circumstances should arise. Your advanced medical directive can include your personal instructions in regard to utilizing or not utilizing life-saving measures in a potentially terminal situation and other scenarios.

Because each person's experience with Alzheimer's disease is different, getting your wishes down in legally binding documents sooner rather than later may be in your best interests. If you have questions about how to create the best plan for your specific needs and wishes, you may want to work with an Illinois estate planning attorney. This legal professional can provide information on planning tools and ensure that your plans comply with necessary state laws.

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Leonard F. Berg, Attorney at Law