When a loved one is diagnosed with Alzheimer's and/or a related dementia, it is important to review one's legal and financial matters. Doing this at the onset makes it easier to include the affected individual in the decision making process, so that his/her wishes can be taken into account, providing the loved one still has the cognitive ability to participate in the decision making process. It also helps reduce the stress on family members, as it provides a directional blueprint as to what steps - both legally and financially - need to be taken as the disease progresses and decisions regarding asset protection, financial resources, estate planning, health care proxy and long term care planning have to be made.

LIAF's team of Legal Advisory Board Elder Law attorneys are able to help assist families with the multitude of issues that can arise once a diagnosis of Alzheimer's and/or a related dementia is received.

First steps: How to get started

Legal and financial planning should begin as soon as possible and includes putting in place the following documents which authorize another person to make health care and financial decisions, as well as developing financial plans for long term care coverage and asset protection.

  • Complete a Health Care Proxy. This legal document appoints a family member or friend to be the health care agent and gives him/her the legal right to make health-related decisions when the principal is no longer capable.
  • Execute a Living Will. This advance directive outlines the principal's wishes regarding medical interventions. It serves as a guide to the person named in the Health Care Proxy and let's the named agent know which life-sustaining and other treatments the principal would want.
  • Create a Durable Power of Attorney. This legal document appoints an agent to handle financial matters for the person should the person no longer be capable. Without a Power of Attorney in place, the family would have to seek legal guardianship in order to transfer assets.
  • Consider a Trust. A properly drafted trust can protect one's house and other assets, so they are not lost in the event of astronomical long term care expenses.
  • Consider Changes to Your Will. Having a loved one wth Alzheimer's or a related dementia diagnosis should cause you to rethink naming them as a direct beneficiary in your will. Instead, his or her share should be held by a trust which can be created within your will.

Though this may sound daunting, a good elder law attorney will help walk you through all of the action steps needed to ensure that you and your family have all the necessary protective documents in place and key assets are properly protected.

Our Legal Advisory Board members

LIAF's Legal Advisory Board offers seminars to families who are affected by Alzheimer's and/or related dementias. They meet regularly to exchange ideas about the client's needs and examine how recent changes in the field of elder law care impacts families navigating the challenges of an Alzheimer's diagnosis.

LIAF's Legal Advisory Board currently includes the following leaders in the elder law field:

Ann-Margaret Carrozza

Law Offices of Ann-Margaret Carrozza
147 Glen Street, Glen Cove, NY 11542
213-38 40th Avenue, Bayside, NY 11362
(718) 224-4746

Jennifer B. Cona

Genser Dubow Genser & Cona
225 Broad Hollow Road, Suite 200
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 390-5000

Maureen DiTata

Berwitz & DiTata LLP
310 Old Country Road, Suite 101
Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 747-3200

Penny Kassel

The Law Offices of Penny B. Kassel, P.C.
100 Ring Road, Suite 108
Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 294-8300

Ron Fatoullah

Ron Fatoullah & Associates
60 Cuttermill Road, Suite 507
Great Neck, NY 11021
(516) 466-4422
Steven A. Kass

Law Office of Steven A. Kass, P.C.
105 Maxess Road, Suite N116
Melville, NY 11747
(631) 574-4554

Eve Koopersmith

Garfunkel Wild, P.C.
111 Great Neck Road, 6th Floor
Great Neck, NY 11021
(516) 393-2504

John Paul Mixon

Law Office of John Paul Mixon, P.C.
60 Fairmount Boulevard
Garden City, NY 11530
(516) 491-6988

Michele Salzman

Garfunkel Wild, P.C.
111 Great Neck Road, 6th Floor
Great Neck, NY 11021
(516) 393-2504