Coping with Alzheimer’s is one of the most difficult challenges both for those diagnosed and for caregivers or family members whose loved one has this condition. Many issues need to be addressed, from preparing to deal with the property and assets of the patient to making a plan for care.
There are legal tools which can help Alzheimer’s patients and their family members, but grappling with understand the law is difficult when trying to cope with a life-changing medical diagnosis. The Schomer Law Group can provide invaluable assistance during this difficult time. Whether a diagnosis has just been received or the condition is advancing, our legal team is here to help cope with Alzheimer’s. Give us a call to schedule a consultation to get personalized advice and answers to questions including:
- What are some steps to take after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis
- What are some legal and financial issues an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can raise?
- How can a Los Angeles elder law attorney help after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s?
What are Some Steps to Take After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis?
After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, it is important to create a care plan; to discuss future medical decisions; and to address legal and financial issues.
Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, which means a patient will experience more symptoms over time. A person may still be of sound mind when a diagnosis is first made. As a result, it is important to move quickly to address some key legal issues. This can include:
• Ensuring there is a power of attorney in place so that an agent is named who can make decisions and manage the patient’s affairs as Alzheimer’s progresses. Creating a trust, transferring assets into it, and naming a trustee is also an option for making sure assets are managed.
• Creating an advanced medical directive. The patient may decide against having extraordinary measures used to extend his or her life, especially as the condition progresses.
• Ensuring there is an estate plan in place. Who will inherit? Have provisions been made to avoid estate taxes?
• Creating a plan for the payment of long-term care costs. Alzheimer’s patients will often end up needing nursing home care. How will this be paid for?
If a patient is not diagnosed until his cognitive abilities have been affected, then a different series of steps will need to be taken. The patient will no longer be able to create a power of attorney, or to create or modify a last will and testament because he is no longer of sound mind. At this point, family members may need to seek guardianship or conservatorship.
A Los Angeles elder law attorney can provide you with advice at all phases of a diagnosis. When you or your loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, contact a legal professional right away to find out what steps you should take.
What are Some Legal or Financial Issues an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Can Raise?
One of the biggest issues for Alzheimer’s patients is paying for the cost of nursing home care. A nursing home can cost thousands of dollars a month, especially if a patient has to receive specialized care in a nursing home catering to people with dementia. Medi-Cal planning can make it possible for a patient to get Medi-Cal to pay for at least some portion of nursing home care.
Medi-Cal has a five year lookback period, during which time a patient is not supposed to have transferred assets or given away gifts. As a result, if an Alzheimer’s patient will need nursing home care within five years of a diagnosis, Medi-Cal planning becomes more complicated. While some assets and property can be saved, the patient may have to spend down a portion of his money before Medi-Cal will begin to pay the bills. A Medi-Cal planning lawyer can provide advice on techniques which can be used to protect property and to qualify for Medi-Cal as quickly as possible.
Your attorney can also help with the creation of a will and the creation of trusts if the patient is still of sound mind; and an attorney can assist with helping a patient to create a power of attorney and create an advanced directive specifying the type of medical care he wishes to receive.
How Can a Los Angeles Elder Law Attorney Help Cope with a Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s
An experienced Los Angeles elder law attorney can help Alzheimer’s patients and their families in many important ways. An attorney understands the full array of laws designed to protect and provide for patients and caregivers and can help to explore options for getting coverage for home healthcare, nursing home care, and even respite care to give caregivers a break. An attorney will also help the patient to retain his dignity and quality of life as long as possible, and will assist family members in making sure a patient is protected. Give us a call as soon as possible to learn more.