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Does Your Estate Plan Account For Family Caregiving Obligations?


Estate planning is about more than just financial decisions.  It is possible to spend years changing your mind about how much money you will need to save so that you will have enough if you use four percent of your savings each year, and even longer trying to find an alternative to the four percent rule if it is as outdated as some financial advisers say.  Meanwhile, money will be the least of anyone’s concerns if you or your spouse gets a diagnosis of dementia.  Your estate plan should include plans for what you will do if things do not go according to plan, including if you develop dementia or another chronic illness associated with old age.  You will need to consider the care that you want to receive, or that you are able to provide, and it is important to indicate your wishes in writing.  For help with this and other challenging aspects of your estate plan, contact a Washington DC estate planning lawyer.

Aging in Place Is About More Than Just Building a Bench in the Shower

One of the decisions that people approaching retirement tend to make is whether to age in place in the family home or to downsize to a smaller house in a less expensive area, or even a retirement community.  This decision tends to center on whether you would like to have minimal housing expenses because your house is paid off, or whether you would prefer to live off of the proceeds of selling the house where you raised your children.

The picture looks different when a member of your family has dementia.  The question is then whether it is better to stay in familiar surroundings or to move to someplace where you are closer to professional support.

Memory Care or Relying on Your Support Network of Family and Friends?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the majority of patients with dementia live at home with their families, and their family caregivers are overwhelmed.  People who act as full-time caregivers to spouses or parents with dementia have an increased risk of clinical depression and other health problems related to chronic stress.  Organizations like Positive Approach to Care offer counseling to family caregivers, and staying in contact with friends and extended family can also help caregivers manage stress.  Another option is memory care facilities, which are assisted living facilities specially equipped for residents who have dementia but whose physical health is good enough that they can otherwise live independently.  The physical layout and daily routines of memory care facilities have a specific design to prevent residents from wandering away from the facility or becoming disoriented or agitated.

Reach Out to Us for Legal Help

Thinking realistically about how your health might be in the future is an important part of estate planning.  An estate planning attorney can help you plan for memory care or for adequate support for family caregivers of seniors with dementia.  Contact Tobin, O’Connor & Ewing for help today.



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