Senior man losing parts of head as symbol of Dementia

Estate Planning and Dementia: What You Should Consider

StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law May 2, 2023

Creating a well-detailed plan is imperative to provide specific instructions regarding how you want your estate and final affairs settled after you’re gone. However, different issues often arise when a parent who has dementia or cognitive impairment wants to create an estate plan. In such situations, it is important that you speak about estate planning and other sensitive issues with them appropriately and help communicate their end-of-life plans. 

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we are dedicated to offering comprehensive and knowledgeable guidance to clients in estate planning-related matters. Our experienced Ohio estate planning attorneys are available to discuss your specific situation and enlighten you about how to discuss the topic of estate planning with your parents. We’re proud to serve clients across Dayton, Miamisburg, Warren, Clark County, Preble County, Greene County, and Butler County, Ohio. 

Common Estate Planning Issues for People With Dementia

When a person has dementia, they may experience episodes of memory loss, unclear thinking, or issues with their problem-solving abilities. Here are some common estate planning issues for dementia patients: 

  • difficulties in expressing or communicating their wishes 

  • forgetting about some property, safe deposit boxes, assets, and other personal belongings 

  • increased difficulty in planning, reasoning, or organizing 

  • inability to determine their preferred medical procedures or treatments 

  • forgetting to claim insurance benefits, dividends, and security deposits 

  • inability to choose a designated beneficiary 

  • difficulties in creating a valid estate plan without a sound mind 

  • inability to make intelligent decisions or understand crucial details 

As their child, you need to discuss the topic of estate planning and other delicate issues with your parents. Having an honest and open discussion with them may be a good way to fully explain the benefits of drafting an estate plan and getting their final affairs in order at the early stages of cognitive impairment. 

Tips for Speaking With a Parent About Estate Planning  

Surprisingly, the topic of estate planning and death remains a sensitive issue between family members. Nonetheless, it is crucial that parents communicate their exact wishes to loved ones when they still can. Here are some useful tips to speak with your parents about estate planning: 

  • Use a reference point to start the conversation. Examples include a wedding, anniversary, family gathering, Thanksgiving, or funeral ceremony. 

  • Help them understand the importance of estate planning and planning for life’s uncertainties. 

  • Enlighten your parents about their available estate planning options and advance directives. 

  • Discuss vital estate planning topics, such as a will, living trust, beneficiary designations, powers of attorney, advance care directives, business succession planning, letter of intent, and final arrangements. 

  • Ask them about their preferences and wishes regarding healthcare procedures, medical treatments, and end-of-life decisions. 

  • Check in with your parents from time to time to ensure that they’re aware of their estate planning options and are able to make informed decisions. 

  • Also, don’t bring up the estate planning conversation alone. Your other siblings and family members should accompany you and participate in the discussion. 

Estate planning remains a sensitive issue and bringing up the topic with parents is never easy. Nonetheless, it is advisable that you discuss it and help them communicate their plans when you still can. A seasoned lawyer can enlighten you about your available legal options and help facilitate the conversation. 

Communicating Plans and Identifying Important Information

Since dementia or cognitive impairment often causes unclear thinking and memory loss, some patients may easily forget their assets, belongings, and other key information. Therefore, you must help your parents locate all their property, assets, belongings, investments, and savings. 

Additionally, you should have an honest and open discussion about their estate plans and end-of-life plans with them. Upon communicating their plans with them, help them locate assets and crucial documents and identify important information. With this, you can work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to help your loved ones draft a comprehensive estate plan. 

Reliable Support Is Here

Knowing that your parent or a close relative is suffering from cognitive impairment can be difficult and emotional. However, it is important that you have a sensitive discussion about estate planning with them as soon as possible to help protect their financial future and ensure they live out their remaining days happily. Therefore, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is crucial for proper guidance and to determine the best course of action. 

At StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law, we have the resources and diligence to advise and guide individuals and families in complex estate planning matters involving dementia. Our attorneys can help facilitate the estate planning discussion with your loved ones and enlighten them about their possible legal options. Also, we will determine the ideal estate plan for their unique situation, help protect their accumulated assets, and work diligently to address their needs and concerns. 

Contact us at StachlerHarmon Attorneys at Law today to schedule an initial consultation with trusted estate planning lawyers. Our reliable team can offer you the personalized legal counsel and advocacy you need when discussing or creating an estate plan for your parents with dementia. We’re proud to serve clients across Dayton, Miamisburg, Warren, Clark County, Preble County, Greene County, and Butler County, Ohio.