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Alzheimer's diagnosis may present need for estate planning

Receiving a difficult medical diagnosis is not easy for any New Hampshire resident. In some cases, individuals could learn that they have Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia that puts their futures in precarious situations. For you, this diagnosis may have you wanting to get your affairs in order.

Having the desire to manage your affairs after such a diagnosis is wise. If caught early, you may still retain a considerable amount of your cognitive abilities, and as a result, you can play an active role in making decisions for your future care and who you want to help you in various capacities.

Where should you start?

Really, the first step in your planning started when you chose to go to the doctor to have your concerns addressed. That first step can continue with discussions about the diagnosis with your doctor so that you better understand your prognosis and possible treatment options. Additionally, it is wise to include your family members in important discussions regarding your condition and the decisions you want to make for your estate plan.

Put trusted people in charge

Because Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia affect cognitive abilities, it is likely that you will eventually need someone to make important financial and health care decisions on your behalf. By planning early, you can utilize a power of attorney to name a person that you fully trust as an agent to act for you when the time comes.

Address your care wishes

Another planning document that can prove useful is an advanced medical directive. This document can allow you to detail the type of care you want to receive and when you no longer want to receive treatment. Having this document in place can allow your family members to understand your wishes, and it can help prevent confusion later when important choices may need to be made quickly.

Make your wishes legally binding

Having an idea of how you want your affairs handled and putting them down in legally binding documents are two different things. Therefore, you may want to ensure that you utilize legal documents that will validate your wishes. Working with an estate planning attorney could help you make sure that your wishes are known and that you understand the various options available for leaving clear instructions. Having legal support could also ensure that your documents do not contain errors that could cause issues later on.

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