6 Essential Documents for Alzheimer's

Prepare these documents, and update older ones, while you still have the decision-making capacity to do so.

Advance-planning documents can help ensure that all your financial and medical wishes are carried out to the letter. This is especially important when Alzheimer's disease and dementia come into play. It's essential to draw up these documents -- and update older ones -- while you still have the decision-making capacity to do so. If you don't have the appropriate documents, a court may step in and appoint a guardian for you. Because of the differences in state law and the complexities involved in ensuring that your instructions are airtight, see a lawyer for help in drawing up these documents.

Power of attorney for finances. This legal document allows another person to manage your finances on your behalf. Naming a competent, trustworthy agent is essential. Many seniors designate a family member for this task. You can build in checks and balances by requiring that the agent provide a periodic accounting to a third party, such as another relative or a lawyer. Or you can require that another individual sign off on any gifts of your property.

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