Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills of the sufferer. Currently, it is believed that over five million Americans suffer from the disease with 600 more diagnosed each day. As we age, the risk of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s increased exponentially. In fact, your chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s almost doubles every five years as you age.To some degree, most of us worry about having Alzheimer’s, but what about the consequences of having a spouse diagnosed with the disease? If you find yourself in this position, there are a number of financial and legal issues that you must address as soon as possible.
Although it may seem impossible to think in terms of the financial impact of your spouse’s diagnosis, you must do so. Long term care could easily drain your life savings without careful planning. With proper Medicaid planning, however, you may be able to preserve the majority of your assets and still qualify for assistance through the program to pay the costs of your spouse’s treatment in the years to come.
In addition, if your estate plan does not already have a comprehensive incapacity plan, now is the time to create one. Eventually, your spouse will be unable to make medical and financial decisions for himself or herself. In order for you to have the legal authority to do so for him or her you should have all of the proper legal documents in place and executed now while your spouse is still legally competent to sign them.