Dementia is a condition that strikes indiscriminately. Not only can it drastically reduce your quality of life, it can rob you of your ability to make your own decisions. If you want to make sure that your rights are protected, you’ll want to ensure that you take a few necessary steps.
Start Moving Early
It’s absolutely vital that you begin moving on any of the steps towards protecting your rights as soon as possible. Moving quickly makes it much more likely that you will be considered legally competent and thus your wishes will be able to stand up to legal scrutiny. Dementia is a condition that can progress rapidly, any time spent waiting may end up being time that you cannot afford to wait. As such, any legal steps you wish to take have to be taken as soon as possible.
Draft a Healthcare Plan
Your next step needs to be to ensure that you have a healthcare plan in place. Once your dementia progresses to the point where you are no longer considered legally competent, you will not be able to make medical decisions on your own behalf. Writing down your healthcare plan will ensure that those who provide for your care are able to follow your wishes even after you are no longer able to direct them.
Talk to an Estate Planning Attorney
You need to ensure that you speak to an estate planning attorney while you are still competent to do so. This will give you a chance to not only draft a will, but to put into place any changes to your estate plan while you are still in a condition to do so. Again, this is a step you need to take for your own legal protection as waiting too long might make it easier for others to contest the changes you make to your estate plan.
Make Sure You Have a Power of Attorney Ready
Finally, make sure that you know who you can trust to make your choices for you when you are no longer able to do so. Giving your spouse or a trusted family member the power of attorney to take care of your finances and your medical issues is vital. Again, this is not just something that will give you a chance to have peace of mind but one that will protect you from a legal standpoint.
The key to protecting your rights is to move quickly. Get a power of attorney in place, make sure that you talk to an attorney, and ensure that your wishes are known. Though dementia can be frightening, you can still protect your rights as the condition progresses.