The author of our featured article tells a personal tale of his father’s advancing senile dementia and how his family responded in dealing with the financial and estate planning implications.
His experiences provide insights and guidance for financial planners dealing with clients facing this challenging and quite common situation.
The father was trained as an engineer and had also earned an MBA. When he was first diagnosed with dementia, he immediately responded by setting out detailed plans for his future – the kind of action you’d expect from someone with his background, perhaps, but a model for anyone facing this condition.
Not everything went smoothly. Seniors can be vulnerable to all manner of miscreants hoping to take advantage of them, and with creeping dementia entering the picture, the danger is particularly acute. Even with his planning and life-long savvy and the oversight of family, the author’s father made some poor financial decisions. It’s probably hard to surrender authority after a lifetime of independence, but the lesson is clear.
The vital first step in these cases is to get financial documents in order. The will, power of attorney over bank accounts, conditions for trusts and a host of other papers must be immediately updated. Caregivers must be determined – a spouse, children or trusted financial advisors from outside the family – to protect the stricken person from causing themselves any harm.
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In this case, the author’s mother received power of attorney. She acted vigorously to protect her husband from falling prey to financially risky moves like easy credit card deals, scammy loan offers and a range of scammers trying to relieve a vulnerable senior of his hard-earned money.
Dealing with this issue clearly requires tact and a personal touch. We feel that any family dealing with dementia would welcome an informed advisor’s advice and assistance in navigating this particularly rocky coastline.
For more information, please read:
The Limits Of Financial And Estate Planning For Dementia | Financial Advisor