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.
Provincial 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, contact your provincial Legal Aid service or your provincial Alzheimer Society for more information.
As soon as possible after the condition is diagnosed, talk about writing down health care decisions (advance care plan) and assigning someone to make decisions on behalf of the person with dementia when they are no longer able (substitute decision-maker). This will ensure that the person's wishes for medical care, especially life-sustaining treatment, are in writing.
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.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerPeter J. Whitehouse, MD - Neurology