As people age, problems can arise that put them in difficult situations. You may have noticed that your parent no longer seems to be able to handle his or her affairs alone as well anymore, and you may even have suspected memory issues. While some cognitive problems can start out as mild, you knew that catching such problems early was crucial.
After voicing your concerns, your parent was receptive to undergoing a medical examination, and unfortunately, the doctor issued an early diagnosis for Alzheimer’s disease. While the news was certainly difficult to accept, the early diagnosis affords you and your parent an opportunity that many do not get: a chance to plan.
Making sound decisions
As long as your parent’s condition has not progressed to a point of severe cognitive decline, he or she can likely still make sound decisions. If so, starting the estate planning process to ensure that your parent can voice his or her wishes may be essential. Some documents your parent may want to have in place include the following:
- Living will: A living will is a legal document that can allow your parent to express his or her wishes for care in the event of incapacitation. This document can include instructions regarding whether to use life support, whether to resuscitate if breathing stops and much more.
- Power of attorney: Power of attorney documents give an appointed person the ability to make decisions on behalf of your parent if he or she cannot do so. Your parent can name separate individuals to handle financial and medical decisions or name the same person for both areas.
- Will: A will can provide instructions for who should handle the estate’s remaining affairs and how your parent wants property distributed after his or her passing.
While these are some of the more fundamental documents needed to create a solid estate planning foundation, your parent may find that other documents could help ensure that other wishes are carried out as well. Because creating a plan can be delicate work, especially after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, having the right information and assistance could prove invaluable. You and your parent may want to contact an experienced Colorado attorney who could help guide you through this process and explain the options available for your circumstances.