Once you turn 65, your risk of developing Alzheimer's or dementia roughly doubles every five years—and the risk is even higher when these types of cognitive impairment run in your family. If you are worried about how a diagnosis might impact your and your family's future, we can help.

Who We Serve

We understand how devasting an Alzheimer's or dementia diagnosis can be when you're not prepared—and that traditional elder law and estate planning services don't meet the unique needs of individuals and families dealing with the effects of cognitive impairment. Our legal team offers personalized planning services for:

  • Individuals who are currently healthy but worried about their risk of cognitive impairment in the future due to a family history of Alzheimer's or dementia
  • Individuals who have recently been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and want to plan for the changes that will be necessary for the future
  • Family members who are seeking information about how to best care for individuals with progressive Alzheimer's disease or dementia

Evaluating and Financing Care Options

 Alzheimer's and dementia patients have multiple care options to choose from:

  • In-home care. In the early stages, private in-home care allows a patient to remain in a familiar environment while easing the caregiving burden placed on family members.
  • Adult daycare. Even if a family member is willing and able to provide care, they may still have other responsibilities to attend to. Adult daycare can provide participants with basic care as well as social and recreational opportunities to supplement family caregiving efforts.
  • Medical alert monitoring systems. While not a substitute for professional caregiving, these systems allow a person to easily summon help in an emergency. Some providers also offer fall detection or can enable GPS tracking to protect a patient who is prone to wandering—providing worried family members with additional peace of mind.
  • Assisted living community. These communities can provide people with Alzheimer's or dementia with three meals per day, assistance with daily activities, laundry, housekeeping, recreation, socialization, and transportation. They are ideal for someone who requires assistance but doesn't yet have extensive medical needs.
  • Nursing home. When a person with Alzheimer's or dementia needs increased medical care beyond what an assisted living facility can provide, a nursing home may be the best option.
  • Hospice. When an Alzheimer's or dementia patient is considered terminally ill, hospice services provide comfort and pain relief. These services can be utilized in whatever environment the patient requires, such as at a private residence or in a nursing home.

The cost of care for someone suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia can be substantial. Medicare will not cover all of the care that will eventually be required. Medicaid benefits can be a vital lifeline, but proper planning is necessary to meet income and asset requirements while still leaving assets in place for a spouse or other family members. Long-term care insurance is ideal, but these policies must be purchased far in advance to provide the level of coverage that is necessary. Based on your needs and available resources, our legal team can help you determine the most appropriate way to plan for future care expenses.

Managing Assets and Making Key Medical Decisions

At some point, an individual with Alzheimer's or dementia will become unable to manage their finances and make important health care decisions. Therefore, it is crucial that your planning process finds a way to make their wishes known and empowers the appropriate family members to step in when needed.

There are three options that may be utilized to give a spouse, adult child, or another family member the authority to make decisions on behalf of an Alzheimer's or dementia patient:

  • Patient Advocate Designation. Creating a patient advocate designation gives the person of your choice the authority to make decisions for you concerning doctors, hospitals, medications, and other necessary care when you are unable to speak for yourself.
  • Durable power of attorney. Sometimes known as a financial power of attorney or general power of attorney, a durable power of attorney gives the person of your choice the authority to make financial decisions on your behalf.
  • Adult guardianship or conservatorship. When a person doesn't have a patient advocate designation or a power of attorney in place and is unable to manage their own affairs, guardianship or conservatorship proceedings may be necessary.

If the individual with Alzheimer's or dementia has a trust that was created to avoid probate, the trust may outline how to manage assets when the beneficiary experiences a cognitive decline. A properly formed trust will greatly reduce the likelihood of probate court proceedings being needed.

Schedule a Consultation

Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss how we can assist with your Alzheimer's and dementia planning needs. Consultations are available at our Howell or Clinton Township offices or anywhere in Michigan virtually.