Part of the process of creating a complete estate plan is making medical directives that protect you, should you become incapacitated and unable to make your own medical choices. Living wills, health care powers of attorney, and other directives are vital pieces of any good estate plan even if you are not currently suffering from any serious medical conditions.
Yet one of the many hurdles estate planning that lawyers are constantly having to deal with, is the reluctance that people often express when the issue of advance directives and incapacity planning pops up.
Quite simply, most people don’t believe they’re going to get sick and don’t think they need an estate plan. Many people believe, for example, that conditions like Alzheimer’s disease only affect the elderly, so they have many years before they have to start worrying about it.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. While younger people are much less likely to suffer from mind altering medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, there are other forms of dementia that do strike younger people.
For example, frontotemporal dementia is a disorder that strikes the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Though frontotemporal dementia does not affect the same part of the brain that Alzheimer’s disease does, people with this condition also lose their ability to make choices. Because it can happen to people as young as 40, or even younger, it’s often a disease that affects people who have not created an incapacity plan.
Frontotemporal dementia, and diseases like it, are one of the main reasons why you need to begin incapacity planning as soon as possible.