Dementia is a type of cognitive difficulty that inflicts a person and affects their ability to perform everyday activities in an independent fashion. Mild cognitive impairment is a classification for individuals who may be showing early signs of dementia.
The statistics reveal that dementia is surprisingly pervasive. One in 10 older Americans suffer from dementia. According to 2022 research, by Columbia University (Irving Medical Center) about 22% of U.S. adults 65 years and older have dementia and another 22% have mild cognitive impairment.
As a country, the U.S. population is getting older, and fast. Consider this fact: by the next 30 years the population of individuals who are 65+ years old will increase by a whopping 70% (from 54 million people to 95 million people).
As our population ages, you can bet that the total number of people with dementia will increase by quite a lot and is likely to be 2 times more pervasive in 15 years than it has been thus far.
Concrete actions to safeguard loved ones.
One does not have to wait until signs of mild cognitive impairment or dementia start to become evident in order to take action. It is best to consider that it is mandatory for all adults in the U.S. who are 55+ to have a comprehensive set of estate plan documents in place. The importance and need is pronounced for individuals who are 65+ and do not (yet) have this important protection in place.
If a loved one is showing signs of cognitive decline or worse; there is much that will be needed to be done to support and care for the individual as the disease progresses. But, a critical action is to have certain (legal) estate planning documents in place to ensure that their wishes are recorded and will be fulfilled long after the cognitive impairment renders them unable to make their own decisions.
These documents are:
1. A Will (or a Revocable “Living” Trust)
This document expresses how the assets owned by the individual will be distributed among the heirs when they are gone. The will must be presented to a court so it can be validated and thereafter probated to ensure that the distribution is in accordance with the wishes contained in it. In the case of a “living” trust, a Trustee is appointed to ensure that the individual’s assets are used optimally for the benefit of the individual for as long as they are alive and then, distributed to the named heirs after they are gone.
2. Health Care Power of Attorney
This document names a specific person to serve as the representative of the individual when they are incapacitated and unable to make health care decisions for themselves. This is a particularly critical document in the case of a loved one afflicted with dementia. Having this document makes it easier for the healthcare representative to do what is needed to provide the best quality of life for the loved one.
3. Financial Power of Attorney
Much like the Healthcare Power of Attorney, this document names a specific person to serve as the representative of the individual to take financial decisions and handle such matters. Again, a particularly critical document in the case of a loved one afflicted with dementia. Having this document makes it easier for the financial representative to do what is needed to provide the best quality of life for the loved one.
The OneDigitalTrust™ platform is designed to help users to take concrete steps to safeguard loved ones who are showing signs of cognitive impairment or dementia. The service is designed to step a user through a simple experience to generate ALL THREE of the above documents – easily and effortlessly.
Ensure that no one can say that something is wrong with the documents
What makes this complex is that every state (court) in the U.S. maintains its own statutes (rules) regarding estate planning, and financial institutions as well as medical / hospital facilities maintain their own standards. Only a trusted platform like OneDigitalTrust™ can ensure that the details and nuances at the state level have been adhered to for each document such as – proper captioning and labeling, statute citations, references and correct notarization blocks. This level of precision ensures that when the document is presented, it will be recognized by local courts, financial institutions and medical facilities as bonafide, if the printed instructions (for each document) to execute the document are followed
The best part is that the service is available at a highly-affordable price of $199 for the first year and $39 each year thereafter (unlimited updates) and may be available from your financial institution for a lower price.
The OneDigitalTrust™ platform provides so much more than just legal documents. Users can catalog their assets and liabilities to ascertain their probate exposure to take specific action on certain assets, utilize the smart digital document vault, visualize how their estate will be distributed in graphical form, create a pet trust, bequeath items of sentimental value to loved ones and write bite-sized “memoirs” on the most important experiences of their lives for loved ones to read and draw inspiration from…and so much more.
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