Dementia: Legal Issues

Topic Overview

A diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease or another dementia often raises some important legal and financial issues for the future. The person with dementia should be involved in these decisions as long as he or she is able and willing to be involved.

  • Obtain professional legal advice as soon as possible. Early in the course of the disease, the person with dementia may be capable of participating in legal and financial planning.
    • State and local bar associations will be able to provide the names of attorneys practicing in your area who deal with these issues.
    • For certain types of legal advice, the Legal Aid Society, the local Area Agency on Aging, or the Alzheimer's Association will be able to help you find legal assistance at low cost.
  • As soon as possible after the condition is diagnosed, talk about writing a living will and assigning a durable power of attorney for health care. These documents will ensure that the person's wishes for medical care, especially life-sustaining treatment, are in writing.
  • Determine whether the person is or will be eligible for Medicaid, and investigate long-term care insurance and financing options.
  • Locate documents necessary to assess the legal and financial affairs of the person. These include wills and trusts, prior tax returns, health and life insurance policies, pension information, deeds, mortgages, bank accounts, and information on other financial investments.
  • Review the ownership of the person's property. Discuss with your attorney the implications of transferring assets.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology
Last Revised June 11, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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