The challenges of Alzheimer’s disease are becoming more and more familiar to millions of Americans. Its direct cause yet a mystery to medical science, the disease seemingly strikes at random with no regard for intelligence or accomplishment, wealth or generosity.
For journalist Maria Shriver, the catastrophic nature of Alzheimer’s disease became all too personal when her father received the diagnosis. Sargent Shriver, a man who once moved mountains as the founder of the US Peace Corps and even a one-time candidate for Vice President of the United States felt his mental faculties slipping through his hands as early as the mid-90s. Diagnosed in 2003, he succamb to the disease in 2011.
Steps to take
Our nation’s growing life expectancy ensures that more and more Americans may find their lives affected by this disease. Currently, over five million Americans have been diagnosed. Shriver’s experience with her father and their “long goodbye” spurred her to bring the topic further into the public eye–including the legal imperatives involved:
Execute powers of attorney and advance medical directives
Among the most important first steps is for the diagnosed individual to designate an individual who they trust to act on their behalf. As the mind deteriorates, essential things like finances or medical decisions require that the decision be made by someone of sound mind.
Create a will
To make sure that your wishes for the distribution of your assets is carried out safely and without causing unexpected harm or disrupting your family’s harmony, be sure to write a will while you still have the capability.
Share your plan
The best way to avoid intra-familial acrimony is to engage with your loved ones about what you desire for the years that remain to you and how your estate will be distributed once you have gone. How will you be taken care of? Where can they find important documents you have left behind?
Do not forget to take advantage of modern technology: our estate planning packages include a special Family Legacy Video to allow you to leave behind personal messages and stories for your loved ones that will stay with them, always.
Do not wait until it is too late
While we are all inclined to procrastinate on tasks we would rather not think about, you simply do not know how much longer you have to finalize your plan. As a progressive illness, Alzheimers and its like advance each day–at times slower, but at others with unexpected speed. Act now and save yourself and your family the pain of figuring it out as you go.
What you can do today
For more on managing Alzheimers, Maria Shriver has written a great deal on the subject. For a wealth of information and no little inspiration, visit MariaShriver.com.
Call our office today at (612) 206–3701 or reach out via our online contact form to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about a family estate planning consultation, where we can identify the best ways for you to ensure your legacy of love and financial security for your family.
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