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Powers of attorney essential prior to Alzheimer's diagnosis

Mental health diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia can present formidable financial and legal problems for patients and families alike. Many Nevada residents suddenly find themselves needing to make decisions for loved ones; however, they are unable to easily do so because powers of attorney were not established prior to the development of the mental disease. When that happens, the family must go through a guardianship process which can cost both time and money.

While no one can accurately determine exactly who will suffer from such diseases, one can prepare ahead of time just in case. One of the first considerations is the establishment of a power of attorney to handle financial matters and a health care powers of attorney to make medical decisions. In order to be legally binding, these documents should be created prior to the onset of any mental illness.

Many times, the recipient of the powers of attorney is a spouse or responsible adult child of the individual. Regardless of the person selected, that person should be made aware of the individual's wishes regarding their finances and medical care. This person should be one that the individual trusts to adhere to his or her wishes.

Alzheimer's and dementia can greatly impact both the victims and the families involved. Many Nevada residents find that the stress of caring for a loved one who suffers from such illness can take more than just a financial toll on the family. One way to reduce the impact of these diseases is to establish powers of attorney so that the family can avoid the added stress of the guardianship process.

Source:, "Experts preach the importance of planning", Rick Shrum, April 27, 2014

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