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Helping your parent plan their estate when they have dementia

Those who are suffering from dementia can start with very mild symptoms. It may be that they have no problem living their day-to-day life, but they become forgetful or often lose their possessions. Mild symptoms of dementia does not necessarily mean that they will be unable to plan their estate.

If you are a child of a person with dementia, it is likely that you have several concerns. You may be worried that your parent has not already planned their estate and that they will not be able to plan their estate if their condition progresses. You may also worry that there could be a dispute between siblings regarding whether your parents planned their estate with full mental capacity. These are valid concerns, but by taking early action you may be able to prevent such eventualities. The following are some things that you can do to help your parents plan their estate if they are in the early stages of dementia.

Encourage them to act quickly

Dementia can progress quickly, and in a few months your parent may not have the mental capacity to be able to state their wishes. Therefore, the sooner that action can be taken the better.

Try to discuss the estate plan with the whole family

When the entire family is aware of what is included in the estate plan, there will be no surprises. When the estate plan becomes a wider discussion, everyone will have the option to ask questions and raise concerns. If your parents are comfortable with discussing their estate plan with the entire family, it will greatly reduce the risk of a dispute in the future.

Suggest that they draft letters to each member of the family

When planning their estate, your parents could choose to write a letter to each family member explaining the reasoning behind their decisions. This will help to show that they were of a sound mind when they planned their estate, and it should also prevent disputes from arising.

If you are concerned that your parents have not yet planned their estate, you should consider sitting down with them and explaining the importance of acting sooner rather than later.

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