Helping Loved Ones with Cognitive Decline Plan Their Estates

Although most of us tend to associate growing older with a loss of memory, some individuals, including those who are suffering from cognitive decline, may experience more pronounced symptoms, which occur at an accelerated rate. The onset of this type of memory loss can be difficult for families to grapple with, especially when the affected individual doesn’t have an estate plan in place and may no longer be in a position to express his/her true wishes in a coherent way. Fortunately, there are steps a person can take to help plan for a loved one’s future. If you have questions about what you can do for your own relative in regards to helping plan his/her estate, please contact Alan G. Orlowsky today for assistance.

Encourage Loved Ones to Act Quickly

There are several different types of disorders involving cognitive decline. Many of these conditions, begin with mild symptoms, allowing a person to fulfill day-to-day tasks, but that also comes with mild forgetfulness. While it may be more difficult for a person to plan his/her estate while in this frame of mind, it is not impossible, so those whose loved ones have begun to show signs of cognitive decline should encourage the individual to act quickly in regards to his/her estate plan. Generally, the sooner a family acts in these types of cases, the more likely it is the affected individual will still have the mental capacity to let his/her wishes be known.

Discuss the Estate Plan with the Whole Family

One of the risks of waiting to plan an estate is that heirs and beneficiaries who are unhappy with their inheritances will later claim the testator was not of sound mind when he/she drafted the will or created the trust in question. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to avoid a will contest, but it can help alleviate any worries on the part of relatives if the whole family is part of the estate planning discussion. When an entire family is aware of what is going into an estate plan, as well as the testators reasoning for doing so, they can avoid any surprises at the probate stage that may make them question their loved one’s ability to make decisions, reducing the risk of conflict in the future.

Draft Letters to Each Family Member

When helping an elderly relative plan an estate, it is also often advantageous to encourage the individual in question to draft letters to each of his/her family members explaining the reasoning behind the inheritances. This can help prove to family members that a loved one was of sound mind at the time of the drafting and can also be used as evidence in the event of a will contest, demonstrating to the court that a will is valid.

Experienced Chicagoland Estate Planning Lawyer

If you are concerned an elderly or ill loved one has not begun planning his/her estate and have questions about how to proceed, please call 847-325-5559 to speak with one of the dedicated estate planning lawyers at Orlowsky & Wilson, Ltd. Attorneys at Law about your legal options.

Updated as of July 2019
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