Prepare to act when it comes to Alzheimer’s and dementia

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 120,000 Minnesotans 65 and older are expected to be living with Alzheimer’s by 2025.
Cherrywood Pointe of Forest Lake held “Prepare to Act,” the second part of its Alzheimer’s and dementia education series, April 4. The two speakers were senior transition professional Jenny Lorge and attorney Rob Collins from Collins Law Office. They focused on power of attorney, health care directives and the difference between a will and a trust.
What is power of attorney?
Power of attorney is a document authorizing someone to act on another person’s behalf. A person must be in his or her right mind when they sign a power of attorney. It is not giving up your rights; it’s allowing somebody else to make decisions.
“If you have someone you trust and you want them to sign your name to help you out while you are capable of making that decision, that’s a great time to sign that form,” Collins said.
Power of attorney expires in the event of death.
“If you sign a power of attorney and you think your spouse or child is going to be able to make decisions for you after you die, that is not true,” Collins said.
What is a health care directive?
A health care directive is a document that informs others of a person’s health care wishes. It allows a person to name someone to make decisions for them if they are unable to make them.
The directive helps doctors, family and friends regarding a person’s care when they are not able to provide that information.
“There is a difference between pre-planning and pre-funding your funeral,” Collins said. “If you do have a pre-plan, you should stick it in your health care directive.”
What is the difference between a will and a trust?
A will is a legal document that allows a person to transfer property at their death, while a trust manages the distribution of assets.
As for estate planning, Collins said: “The No. 1 thing you want to do is take an inventory of your assets. Most people don’t usually have more than 10 things.”
There are three main points to write down while taking the inventory.
–Who owns it.
–What the value is.
–What happens to it when you die.
“Probate assets are those that are in your name when you die that do not automatically pass that need to be decided where they are going to go,” Collins said. “Non-probate assets pass just because you die and a great example of this type is a life insurance policy.”
According to the Minnesota Attorney General, establishing a trust requires a document that specifies your wishes, lists beneficiaries, names a trustee or trustees to manage the assets, and describes what trustees may do.
“A will is a list of instructions to the probate court,” Collins said. “A trust is a bucket, and anything you put in that bucket will avoid probate when you die. It is a wonderful tool.”
For people suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia, it is recommended they plan ahead regarding health care and all of their assets.
“Do this stuff now while you are able to take care of these things yourself,” Lorge said. “Then a few years when you’re ready to downsize, you’ve got the majority of the work done.”
Part three of the Alzheimer’s and dementia education series, “Act in Love,” will be at 1 p.m. May 4. Part four, “Dementia in Action,” will be at 2:30 p.m. June 13. Both will be held at Cherrywood Pointe, 231 W. Broadway Ave., Suite 1, in Forest Lake.

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