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Consider Your Estate Plan During Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

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The Alzheimer’s Association has designated November as the month to raise awareness of the disease that affects an estimated 5.3 million Americans. The facts surrounding Alzheimer’s are staggering:

  • It is the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed.
  • One in three seniors dies of Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia.
  • The disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
  • In 2015, the cost of Alzheimer’s care in the United States eclipsed $200 billion, and the number continues to rise.

The number of American’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s grows each year in size and proportion to the U.S. elderly population. Knowing the signs and symptoms of the disease can help those affected and their caretakers by preparing for future health and estate planning needs. A Houston estate planning attorney can be your guide for asset allocation with a proper estate plan.

Alzheimer’s Awareness – Signs and Symptoms

The national Alzheimer’s Association has published 10 early warning signs and symptoms that are related to the disease.

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time and place
  • Trouble understanding visual images
  • New problems with words in speaking and writing
  • Misplacing things
  • Poor judgment
  • Withdrawal from work and social activities
  • Changes in mood and personality

For more detailed information about these signs and symptoms, please visit the Alzheimer’s Association at

Estate Planning Help

Planning for the distribution of your assets can be emotional for you and your family. If you have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s, it’s important to begin the estate planning process immediately.

Time is valuable when planning involves Alzheimer’s because you need sufficient capacity to understand and approve the plan. Signing documents and authorizing an estate planning strategy should be done soon after a diagnosis.

There are some basic questions to consider when making an estate plan. First, how will you handle tangible gifts? Jewelry, art, firearms, collections, and family heirlooms are examples of tangible gifts that are routinely allocated through a legally planned estate.

Non-tangible gifts take a variety of forms and can be more complicated to divide. Franchise rights, intellectual property, bonds, mutual funds, and other securities should have a distribution plan in your estate. For both types of assets, you may want to consider charitable donations. Morris Ostrom Law attorneys can help to smoothly transition any of your assets to family members or a charity.

Medical directives and Power of Attorney documents should be considered as well. An advanced medical directive is a legal document that allows you to specify who will make health care decisions for you if, for any reason, you cannot make decisions yourself. Power of Attorney is another important part of lifetime planning. This document gives one or more persons the power to act on your behalf as your agent. The power can range in limitation and permanence based on your preference.

Make time in November to see your physician for Alzheimer’s concerns. If estate planning needs become part of your path with the disease, Keith Morris & Stacy Kelly, Attorneys at Law can be your helping hand.