Financial Planning First Steps After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis
As seen on The Rhode Show
It goes without saying that Alzheimer’s is one of the most devastating diagnoses an individual can receive. It is equally difficult for their loved ones. While it might be the last thing you want to focus on, one of the first things you should consider after a diagnosis is putting together a financial, estate, and care plan.
Step 1: Organize and assess your legal and financial documents
Because of its degenerative nature and the gradual loss of memory and judgment associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia, advance-planning is critical. Assessing your legal and financial documents and discussing your wishes with family is the first step towards ensuring that decisions about your care and finances are carried out as you wish. Sit down with your loved ones and go over the following:
Legal documents: Living wills; Medical and durable powers of attorney; Wills and Trusts, including supplemental needs trusts. If you do not already have estate planning documents in place, make sure you reach out to an estate planning attorney and explain that your need for a plan is immediate. Even if you do not think you need an estate plan, basic health and financial power of attorney will be necessary for your family to assist you.
Financial documents: Bank account information; Deeds, mortgage papers or ownership statements; Insurance policies; Ongoing or outstanding bills; Pension and other retirement benefit summaries; Social Security payment information; Stock and bond certificates.
Additional financial responsibilities: Paying bills, possibly passwords to bill paying websites; Benefits claims; Tax return preparation, Investment decisions.
Step 2: Seek guidance from a financial professional
After you’ve gathered all your financial and legal documents you should meet with a financial professional to go over those documents and assess the gaps and opportunities. Financial professional such as those at Washington Trust Wealth Management are valuable sources of information and can be one of your greatest resources during an otherwise difficult time. A financial advisor can:
- Analyze your investment portfolio with long-term care needs in mind
- Create a financial plan for your future
- Assist you and you family with carrying out your plan and wishes
- Identify potential financial resources
- Identify potential tax deductions
- Determine whether certain financial products, such as a Trusteed IRA, which allows your IRA to be administered during your incapacity, would be beneficial to you and your family.
Step 3: Estimate costs and build them into your plan
Planning for your financial needs means considering every cost you might face now and in the future. This is a hard number to estimate as the needs of a person with Alzheimer’s change and progress over time. Sadly, Alzheimer’s is one of the most expensive conditions. While insurance may cover some of the costs, they may not cover all. Work with your financial and legal advisors as well as your family to plan for these expenses as much as possible. A few of the most common and costly care expenses include ongoing medical treatment, diagnosis and follow-up visits, prescription drugs, in-home care services, and full-time residential care services
A comprehensive financial plan, combined with sound investment advice, will help you and your family find peace of mind during this transition in your life.