3 Tips About Estate Planning and Alzheimer’s Disease

By Lane V. Erickson, Attorney

With all of the advances in medicine, many of us are living far longer than we ever did before. With this longer life, however, there is an ever-growing number of elderly individuals who have Alzheimer’s disease, or some other form of dementia. I often have clients ask me about the estate planning steps they can take to prepare for this possibility, and to protect themselves, their property, and their loved ones if this were to happen. Here are three tips about estate planning and Alzheimer’s disease that every person should think about.


The first and most important thing for every person to understand is that capacity is a limiting factor under the law. What this really means is that if a person already has Alzheimer’s disease then it is likely too late to  complete estate planning now. However, this may not always be the case. Even a person with Alzheimer’s disease can have moments where they are lucid and understand exactly what they are doing and what is going on around them. each circumstance has to be determined on its own merits.

Part of estate planning is that there are witnesses who determine whether the individual has the legal capacity to create an estate plan. These Witnesses observe the individual and determine whether they understand what is going on around them. Then, if there is a dispute about whether this individual had capacity, the witnesses who signed the wheel are called forward to testify about what they saw and heard at wide it is they believe that the individual had capacity to sign their estate planning documents.


If an individual does not already have Alzheimer disease or some other form of Dimension than basic estate planning can’t help. A basic estate plan includes not only a last will and testament which gives away your property, but it also includes a durable power of attorney for finances, end a power of attorney for Health Care. It will also include a living will which gives a person the ability to make end-of-life decisions.

The powers of attorney listed above are critical because they give the individual at the ability while they have capacity to determine who they want to name to care for them and their property if they suddenly become unable to do so. This allows the individual and their family to avoid having to do a Guardianship and conservatorship proceeding. Estate planning is far less expensive than these types of legal proceedings.


The next tip however is that there are some times when add individual did not complete their estate planning it now are unable to do so because of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. If this occurs, it is not too late to care for this individual. What needs to occur is a legal guardianship preceding should be filed with the court so that at legal determination can be made as to who the guardian and conservator of this individual will be.

A legal Guardian is tasked with the responsibility of caring for the individual. A legal Conservator is tasked with the responsibility of caring for that individual’s property and finances. Most often, one individual fulfills both roles. However, with an estate that is complex it is possible that there could be one or more individuals who are named who will fulfill these responsibilities.

If you are concerned about Alzheimer’s disease, or some other form of dementia, and you would like to get your estate planning done, we can help. Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Idaho. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lve@racinelaw.net. We will answer your Idaho Estate Planning questions and will help you solve your Idaho Estate Planning problems.

This website includes general information about legal issues and developments in the law. Such materials are for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. You need to contact a lawyer for advice on specific legal issues.

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