The need to protect your family

Why should I seek legal advice? 

Dealing with legal and financial issues should be done as soon as a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease is made. If possible, this is something that should be done even before the diagnosis is made.

No one likes to talk about these things but it is an absolute necessity. My mother was 51 years old when first diagnosed with Alzheimer's and immediately we sought legal and financial advice.

My mother since passed on after living with Alzheimer's disease for 15 years. The last 5 years were very difficult for her and us, as a family. We were very thankful that we sought legal and financial advice at her early stages of Alzheimer's.

She was able to live the life she wanted by her wishes, known in advance. We were able to make decisions for her, which were based on what she outlined in advance.

There were no fighting, arguing or strained relationships amongst the family, with a detailed plan. You will need to consider the following: power of attorney, living will, living trusts and a will.

What legal steps should I take?

How can I legally protect the needs of a loved one?

The power of attorney gives the right to someone (usually a trusted family member) to make legal decisions when the person with Alzheimer's can no longer do it.

Living wills deal with the issue of artificial life support decisions. Living trusts enable a person (grantor or trustor) to create a trust to invest and manage trust assets. A will gives an executor the power to manage the estate after death.

These areas, while very difficult to discuss with a loved one, are 100% necessary. The problem is this can be very expensive when going through a lawyer.

The good news is there is an alternative now. You may have heard of Robert Shapiro, an attorney who has created an online service, which has been recognized by Yahoo, USA Today, Popular Science, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS and the New York Times.

Everything is legal and at an unbelievable fraction of the cost of visiting a lawyer. Here are some examples: power of attorney (standard package) is $35.00 as visiting a lawyer would cost $340.00, a living trust (individual) is $199.00 while a lawyer would bill you $1,830.00 for it and a standard last will and testament costs $79.00 while a visit to the lawyer's office will send you a bill for $495.00.

These are just a few samples. You answer a few questions online and the documents are prepared within 48 hours. We can't encourage you enough to visit their site or seek legal advice with your own lawyer.

There is such a thing as "it's too late". At one point, your loved one who has Alzheimer's disease will not be able to make their wishes known. The last thing that you need is for the court to intervene.

If you wish to learn some tips on how to care for a loved one, I encourage you to visit the following page: Alzheimer's caregiver tips.