For various reasons, many people don’t do estate planning or create advance healthcare directives – putting certain legal documents in place to make sure your financial and medical wishes are known if you become incapacitated. According to US News and World Report, two out of three Americans do not have an “advance directive”, which specifies a person’s wishes for health care decisions if they become incapacitated and only 6 in 10 American adults do not have a will or living trust (AARP).
This is especially important when Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is a factor. It’s critical to draw up these documents — and update older ones — while you still have the decision-making capacity to do so. If you don’t have the appropriate documents, a court can and appoint a guardian for you.
Described below are the documents that are recommended for advance planning. It’s best to seek the help of an attorney with these documents, as laws vary from state to state.