Alzheimer's is a disease that is affecting more people in New Jersey each year. It can be slow or fast to progress. It can be devastating to the victim of the disease and even more so to his or her loved ones. Due to the nature of Alzheimer's, advanced planning is critical to ensure one's wants and wishes are known and carried out before and after death.
Alzheimer's is a degenerative disease. It causes a person to lose his or her memory and his or her ability to care for him- or herself properly. Those with Alzheimer's can protect themselves, their families and their assets by putting together estate plans before their disease progresses too far. If this is done too late, it may be possible for others to question the validity of the estate planning documents due to them being created when one is not of sound mind.
A solid estate plan for a person with this disease will include medical and durable powers of attorney, a living will, a basic will and, if desired, a trust of some sort. The powers of attorney will allow one to name one or more personal representatives to make medical and financial decisions when one is no longer able to do so him- or herself. A living will allows one to express wishes for end-of-life care. A will is where one can designate beneficiaries and give instructions for what is to happen to one's estate after passing. Finally, a trust, if desired, can be used to protect assets and beneficiaries, as well as offer tax benefits.
Alzheimer's does not discriminate. It can affect anyone, and the speed at which it progresses is different in each case. New Jersey residents who receive this devastating diagnosis may not want to spend time thinking about what is to come, but in the end, they will only benefit from taking the time to do some advanced planning as soon as possible.