A New Advanced Directive

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As a general part of estate planning, it is important to also plan for end-of-life scenarios when you might not be able to make your own decisions because of dementia or some other disability. This type of planning is fairly standardized.  It normally consists of a general durable power of attorney, a health care power of attorney and a living will.

One perceived issue with these forms is that they only become effective when someone has reached the stage of being completely unable to handle their affairs on their own. The documents do not take into account what happens as someone slowly loses their cognitive abilities due to dementia.

The New York Times reports on this problem in “One Day Your Mind Might Fade. At Least You’ll Have a Plan.”

A doctor has come up with a new advanced directive that accounts for the different stages of dementia and cognitive decline. It lets people decide what they would want at each stage of decline.

The idea is that this approach gives people more control and helps them create a better plan for dealing with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. However, not everyone is convinced that this new directive is necessary. Many people believe that existing end-of-life documents are adequate.

If you are interested in this new directive, it is a good idea to go to an elder law attorney so you can not only plan for your estate but also make plans for your own end-of-life care.

Reference: New York Times (Jan. 19, 2018) “One Day Your Mind Might Fade. At Least You’ll Have a Plan.”

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