Having a dementia diagnosis means that now, more than ever, you need to make sure that your estate planning is in order.  You will not want your incapacity to cause family tension or unnecessary Court involvement pertaining to your health, wealth, or general well-being.  A properly established estate plan not only provides for the disposition of your estate at death, but it will plan for your incapacity.

It is commonly believed that a dementia diagnosis terminates your ability to execute a Will or Trust. However, that is a common misconception.  The diagnosis does not automatically mean that a person has lost the ability to create or update their estate plan, even with early stage dementia someone may have legal capacity to sign estate planning documents.  In certain instances, it is prudent to obtain a letter of capacity from your treating physician or neurologist evidencing your ability to enter into estate planning matters.

If you or a loved one has dementia, you also want to understand your long term care options, such as where you might want to receive care in the future and how to pay for that care. You should consult with an elder law attorney to learn your options, and consider asset preservation planning as well.

Below is a list of things to do if you or a loved one was recently diagnosed with dementia.

  1. Review Your Estate Plan and Long Term Care planning options with an Elder Law Attorney – meaning your Trust, Will and all Powers of Attorney.
  2. Review Your Assets to Confirm Proper Trust Funding – meaning the title and/or pay on death designations for each of your assets.
  3. Update your Estate Planning documents, as needed or recommended to ensure there are sufficient powers and provisions to provide for a seamless transition upon incapacity.
  4. Complete your Private Information Guide and review its contents with your successor trustee. Your successor should know your assets, the contact information for your team of advisors and other relevant information.

If you have questions or if you wish to schedule an appointment with one of the attorneys at Bivens & Associates, PLLC, please contact our office.


-Rachel S. Zaslow, Esq.