Dementia, Ongoing Memory Loss, And Your Finances
Plan Now to Protect Your Financial Future
Almost all of us will have some degree of memory loss as we get older. Some people, though, have dramatic memory loss that's caused by diseases such as dementia. If it gets to the point that you're struggling to keep up with your finances to due cognitive issues, it's important to take some steps to protect yourself.
Let's examine how to arrange your finances so that they are managed successfully even if you are unable to do it on your own.
- Memory Loss and Your Finances
- Plan for Your Money
- Protect Yourself Against Financial Abuse
Memory Loss and Your Finances
Memory loss may make it quite difficult to keep up with your finances. Things that you used to be able to keep up with, such as checking your bank statements, tracking your spending, and even paying your bills, can become quite difficult as you age.
You may find that it's difficult to comprehend information from banking professionals or your accountant.
This can add up to you not making the best choices financially, or to you being unable to keep up with your finances on an ongoing basis.
Plan for Your Money
Planning for your financial future is especially important as you age.
While it can be a little difficult to think about your plans for when you can't make decisions on your own, setting up a plan is one of the best ways to be sure that your wishes will be honored. This also helps relieve your family of the stress of needing to make this type of choice for you.
Take these steps to protect your finances:
- Keep Your Finances Simple
- Stay in control of your money as you age, and make it easier for your friends and family to assist you, by using the following tips to simplify your finances:
- Combine your bank accounts
- Limit the number of credit cards you have
- Close your checking account
- Consolidate any investments you have
- Hang a list of your monthly bills and which day of the month they come in Mark them off each month after they're paid
- Hang unpaid bills on your fridge and remove them after you pay them.
- Decide if you'd like to use automatic payments for some of your bills.
Protect Against Financial Abuse
If you have begun to experience memory loss, you may have to rely on the people around you. Unfortunately, this can leave you exposed to individuals that might want to take advantage of you.
While your loved ones may have opinions about what they think you should do with your money, it's vital that they don't make the decisions for you. This is financial abuse.
Individuals with dementia are far more vulnerable to financial abuse, so it's important to be careful about this.
Set up a power of attorney
This person can manage your financial and legal affairs if you become unable to decide for yourself. If you don't have a plan in place, a court may appoint someone to assist you.
Select someone that you know you can trust to act as your power of attorney. They will be the one taking care of paying your bills, managing your bank account, and even selling your property if you need to move into a residential facility. You'll need to be able to trust that this person will always act with your best interest in mind.
Your power of attorney could be your child, spouse, a friend, or a relative. It could also be an independent person, such as your attorney.
No matter who you settle on, it's important to tell your family about your decision, so that everyone understands your wishes for your finances. This can help limit disputes.
You may need to plan for separate arrangements for someone to make medical decisions for you.
Update Your Will
Go over your will regularly to be sure that it's current. If you don't have a current will, it's important to take the time to make one.
It's important to finalize your will or update it before you start to have memory issues.
A dementia diagnosis doesn't mean you can't make decisions for yourself, but if you are starting to have memory issues, you may want to also obtain legal advice before working on your will.
You should also give a copy of the document to your beneficiaries.
Sort your important documents
It's a important and smart idea to keep a file of your financial and personal information, well organized, so that things are easier for your power of attorney to find. Alternatively, you could make a duplicate file with copies of all of the documents and keep it in a safe location.
You should include these documents:
- Birth Certificate
- Marriage Certificate
- Power of Attorney information
- Personal Insurance Policies
- Social Security Number
- A list of your assets
- House deeds
- Inventory of home contents
- Deeds for any other real estate
- Bank account information
- Mortgage information
- Documents related to any loans
- Investment documents
- Proof of pre-payment of funeral arrangements
- Living Will
- Medicare Card
- Medical Insurance information