Planning for dementia

Planning for your dementia

While everyone should plan for the future, for those who have been diagnosed with dementia planning takes on a new level of urgency.

Making plans while you are legally competent and able to participate in planning your future will ensure that you, and your family, can take care of your affairs in accordance with your wishes. Here are FOUR important planning matters that you and your family need to consider:

Money matters

While legally competent, the person with dementia can give authority to a trusted third party to operate their bank account jointly with them or on their behalf.  

This authority can include a requirement for joint signatures on all financial accounts. This authority is invalid if completed once the person is no longer legally competent.

You should also discuss your future financial affairs with a financial adviser and arrange how the person with dementia or their legal representative can access their finances.

Wills

If the person with dementia wishes to make or update their will, it is essential they do so while they are legally competent.

They must fully understand the implications of their will, appoint executors and sign the will document, and nominate where the will is to be kept.  

Enduring Power of Attorney

An enduring power of attorney is a legal arrangement that allows the person with dementia to appoint someone to act on their behalf in legal and financial matters when they are no longer able to do so themselves.  Importantly, the person with dementia must be legally competent to authorise a power of attorney and sign the documentation.

Medical treatment

A trusted relative or friend can be appointed to make decisions about medical treatments for a person with dementia. As part of implementing an enduring power of attorney, a person or persons can be appointed to make decisions covering health and wellbeing matters.

Additionally, while still legally competent, a person with dementia can implement an Advance Directive. This document expresses the wishes of the person with dementia in terms of their medical treatment when they are unable to communicate themselves.

Source: Dementia Australia fact sheet: Early planning

If you need assistance for planning ahead contact Dementia Australia on www.dementia.org.au or phone 1800 100 500.

Dementia Australia offers support, information, education and counselling. Contact the National Dementia Helpline on 1800 100 500.

The website has a range of help sheets which provide advice and practical strategies on the most common issues about dementia.

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