Planning for Longer Lives

As medical science continues to improve, Americans are living longer lives than ever before. Unfortunately, however, cognitive decline often goes hand in hand with longer life spans. Therefore, as a recent article explains, families should have a plan to deal with the cognitive decline of loved ones, and the financial difficulties that such decline may cause.

Before your loved one ever faces cognitive decline, it is important that he or she puts an estate plan in place that clearly outlines his or her wishes. This estate plan should not only plan for the distribution of his or her assets, but it should also designate the individual(s) who should act on his or her behalf, should he or she become incapacitated.

Once your loved one begins to face issues of cognitive decline, there are some important steps you must take. First, gather all the information you can about the illness that is affecting your loved one and causing the cognitive decline. This information can be found through a doctor, in a book, or on the Internet. Once you get this information, share it with your family members.

Next, conduct a financial inventory of your family member’s accounts and assets. If your family member is still living at home and only facing mild decline, consolidate his or her accounts so that he or she will be better able to manage transitions. If you are forced to take over as financial power of attorney, consider creating a calendar that lists the bills which need to be paid each month to ensure that the bills are being paid on time, and that the amounts are correct.

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