No one wants to think about the possibility of being unable to make decisions for themselves, but unfortunately, this is a reality for a growing number of Americans. Research from the Alzheimer’s Association shows that more than 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and above suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. For those in the advanced stages, they may be unable to cope with activities of daily living, much less manage their own healthcare and financial decisions.
And it’s not just Alzheimer’s disease either. According to research from the US National Institute of Health, 85% of Americans age 65 and above have at least one chronic healthcare condition, and 60% of that population have two chronic healthcare conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer.
The combination of chronic diseases can be just as problematic as cognitive concerns, which is why it is so important to work with a qualified estate planning attorney to create a comprehensive plan to appoint other individuals to step in if, and when you are unable to make these decisions on your own. Without necessary paperwork, such as a power of attorney document, your medical care may be delayed, which could lead to negative outcomes or unnecessary side effects.
In addition to making healthcare decisions, you may also need to appoint someone else to take care of your finances and to manage your overall financial decisions. You can appoint this person in a financial power of attorney and you can give them specific or general powers.
Furthermore, your power of attorney can become active immediately or may only become activated during a triggering event, which names you as unable to make decisions for yourself. For more information about crafting a comprehensive estate plan, you need to communicate with a Pasadena area estate planning attorney to walk through the specifics of your individual concerns, assets, liabilities, and intentions for estate planning.