Looking Ahead

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For people who have been newly diagnosed with dementia (and their loved ones), there are many issues to consider and plans to make. Having medical support and guidance is critical, as is a social support network, a safety framework, appropriate housing, and secure and protected finances. With financial issues, in particular, it is important to not only discuss your wishes and values with your loved ones, but also to have legal paperwork prepared to support those directives. Here are three important documents to have in place:

1.

A Will

A will outlines how you want your estate divested after you die. Remember to include items of sentimental value, rental properties and any donations you’d like to make to charity. Talk to your lawyer about tax implications related to the decisions you are making (there may be a way to mitigate the tax burden). Do this sooner than later; you must be deemed competent for a will to be legal.

2. 

An Enduring Power of
Attorney document

This will outline your wishes regarding how you want your financial matters handled and who will take charge of doing that in the event you are unable to. Indicate what priorities you have for your money — for example, is your comfort and care the most important thing as your condition progresses? Is an inheritance for your children or grandchildren of somewhat less importance now? 

3.

A list of your bank accounts and stock holdings

First, make sure all
accounts are joint in
nature so that the person who is your power of attorney can access them, when or if it’s necessary. Keep this list (it is also a good idea to include insurance policies and credit card, loan or mortgage information) in a secure spot and let him or her know where it is and how to access it.  [ ]