Dementia and Power of Attorney POA: Your essential guide to protecting loved ones.

Dementia disease has become probably the most common cause of incompetency of individuals in the United States. We see loved ones, family members, friends, all the time who are at the early stages of this terrible, terrible disease, and it’s a progressive disease. It gets worse and worse as time goes on, but the person is still alive, but they’re really not able to manage their own affairs. If that person has competency still, so early stages or prior to the onset of this terrible disease, they can do an important estate planning document called a durable power of attorney. In that document, they can appoint someone or multiple people to act on their behalf so if they become incompetent by way of dementia or some other cause, someone has already been designated to act on their behalf to manage their affairs for them. Even if a person has a diagnosis of dementia, if it’s at the early stages and they understand what’s going on, they have legal competency. They still have time to do a durable power of attorney and put the important pieces in place so that they are protected. You can avoid a long, uncertain and costly court proceeding known as a guardianship that oftentimes becomes necessary if a person has not properly planned by using a durable power of attorney and other important state planning documents.