If you or a family are member are facing a dementia* diagnosis, there are some financial steps that can be taken to empower everyone involved, and maybe take a little stress off of the family. Whether it’s your diagnosis, or a loved one, the steps are the same:
- Inventory all assets: List all property and accounts, along with how each is titled, including your primary residence. This is the time to decide if your home should stay in the family and be retitled, or if you should consider selling the home to downsize.
- Document Income and Insurance: Identify all sources of your personal income and detail the amounts, as well as where the income “lands” i.e. your checking account. Also find out if your current health coverage provides any benefits for dementia and go over life insurance and long-term care insurance policies** in detail with your insurance agent.
- Make Your Intentions Known in Writing: Do you have an attorney? Are they versed in elder law?*** Have you created a durable power of attorney and updated your will including executor? How about your medical directives? Many states offer a statutory form that can help you dictate how you want your life to proceed through the disease and at the end of life. Click HERE for an article from Investopedia about basic legal documents mentioned.****
- Banking and Administration: Consider having all of your income arrive by direct deposit. Set up automatic bill pay or reminders and make sure your local branch knows what’s going on. Consider designating an advocate that can help you keep track of your banking and habits to avoid any unplanned spending or being taken advantage of by criminals. Consider hiring a bookkeeper to take care of banking and bills.
- Care: Ultimately someone will begin helping you at some point. Work with your family to determine what that looks like as the disease progresses. Determine what expenses you can afford using any long-term care policies you might have. Consider a geriatric care manager and services like Meals on Wheels***** to maintain your best lifestyle as long as possible. Learn about brain exercises and all health options from a dietician and exercise coach.
- Lastly, consider working with a financial advisor that has experience in with clients and families dealing with dementia.
A diagnosis of dementia can be devastating. However, with as much specific planning, life can go on, and in some cases, onset slowed. Being proactive is the best overall strategy after a diagnosis is made.
Will Parrish, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst™ CDFA™ is a founding partner of Slate, Disharoon, Parrish and Associates, LLC, and is located in Knoxville, Tennessee specializing in services for medical professionals, business owners, and corporate executives, and divorce financial planning. Feel free to contact Will with questions via email firstname.lastname@example.org or directly by phone at (865) 357-7373. Visit their website, www.sdp-planning.com.
Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisers, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Slate, Disharoon, Parrish & Associates, LLC and Cambridge are not affiliated.
MIT Age Lab