When a person comes down with any of various forms of dementia, it means he or she requires additional amounts of care. It also means eventually taking away the checkbook and access to credit cards, to prevent the person with diminishing capacity from responding to Nigerian email pitches or late night infomercials.
For these situations, the instrument of choice is the power of attorney—a legal document that allows people who recognize that they’re declining mentally to appoint a trusted agent to make financial decisions on their behalf. This trusted person is expected to place the person with dementia’s interests ahead of his/her own.
There are several types of document to consider:
- The general power of attorney allows the agent to perform almost any act that the Alzheimer’s patient would be doing, such as opening financial accounts and managing personal finances.
- A durable power of attorney designates a person to act on the patient’s behalf while the patient is well and functioning, and maintains that power after the patient becomes incapacitated.
- A limited power of attorney gives the agent specific powers limited to a certain area—such as the authority to sell a home.
Most financial planners believe that everyone should have a power of attorney document drawn up long before any sign of dementia crops up, so that the document is in place when needed. And then you hope it never will be needed—just like you hope to prolong as long as possible being able to collect your life insurance or disability insurance proceeds.
Provided by Storey & Associates, a Registered Investment Advisor located at 1360 South Main Street, North Canton, Ohio offering Financial Planning and Investment Management Services. Content written by Bob Veres. For more information, please contact us at (330) 526-8944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.