An Alzheimer’s diagnosis not only affects the patient but also other family members as well. Many decisions need to be made to protect the person who was diagnosed, to secure the family’s finances, and to protect the patients’ loved ones. Understanding the practical and legal issues that arise can be very daunting, especially as you are also trying to cope with a devastating medical diagnosis.
At the Law Offices of Cheryl David, our experienced legal professionals are here for those who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s as well as for families of Alzheimer’s patients. We can provide comprehensive advice on the steps to take to get the patient the best care, to save family members from tough choices, and to protect the legacy of the patient. Our goal is to take care of the legal decisions and make available legal tools work for you while minimizing your stress and allowing you to spend your time with family members instead of dealing with logistics. Contact us to learn more about the ways in which we can help after a diagnosis and to get answers to key questions including:
- What legal issues arise as a result of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis?
- What are the steps I should take after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis?
- How can a Greensboro elder law attorney help after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis?
What Legal Issues Arise as a Result of an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis?
An Alzheimer’s diagnosis means that at some point in the life of the patient, he will no longer be able to care for himself or manage his own assets. It also means nursing home care is likely to become necessary at some point as the disease progresses. There are legal issues that must be addressed related to asset management, medical decisions, transfer of assets upon death, and planning for nursing home coverage.
When a patient is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he may still be of sound mind and may be able to take steps to make life easier for caregivers and family members in the future. Unfortunately, if a diagnosis comes too late and the patient is already beginning to show significant signs of dementia, he already may be unable to act on his own or make legal decisions on his own behalf. In these circumstances, initiating guardianship proceedings may become necessary depending upon what planning, if any, was done before the diagnosis.
What are the Steps I Should Take After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis?
The first step to take after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is to do an assessment of any current plans that are in place:
- Was a Medicaid plan created to protect assets in case Medicaid coverage of nursing home care becomes necessary?
- Does the patient have a will? Has he established any trusts?
- What assets does the patient have? Has he created a power of attorney or put them into a living trust so they can be managed by either an agent or a trustee?
- Does the patient have an advanced directive or a living will dictating what kinds of extraordinary medical care he wishes to receive?
If the patient hasn’t yet done any of these things, you’ll need to consider whether it is too late to begin. A patient who is still of sound mind could create his advanced directive, update his will, establish trusts, and name an agent so he can choose who acts for him and what care he needs and who will inherit. If it is too late to do these things, then the person who is named as guardian will have to make many of these decisions for the Alzheimer’s patient.
Taking action on Medicaid planning is also essential as soon as possible to protect as many assets as you can from being spent down to pay for a nursing home when custodial care becomes necessary. The sooner you act to find out what legal steps to take, the more you can resolve while the patient is still able to communicate and express a preference about his or her own future.
How Can a Greensboro Elder Law Attorney Help?
The Law Offices of Cheryl David is experienced in providing legal assistance to Alzheimer’s patients and their families in Greensboro, NC, Guilford County, and surrounding regions of North Carolina. Our legal team will work hard to make sure that you take advantage of all legal tools to make coping with Alzheimer’s easier. We can also provide guidance and advice on financial issues, caregiving issues, benefits available, and end-of-life issues which need to be addressed.
After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, learning as much as you can about the medicine and the law is the best way to take control in a difficult and stressful situation. Our legal team is here to help. Give us a call at (336) 547-9999 or contact us online to learn more about the services we offer.