A Hidden Threat To Your Savings

According to a recent article, there is a hidden threat “lurking within all of us . . . [that] could decimate our savings and deprive our heirs of their inheritance.” That threat is Alzheimer’s disease. As the Alzheimer’s Association reports, there are currently 5.4 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. A recent article discusses how elder Americans can protect their assets in anticipation of Alzheimer’s disease, or other cognitive impairments.

Although elder Americans would like to stay in control of their finances, it is important to relinquish control when you become impaired. Most people, however, will not know when they are impaired to a degree where they can no longer control their finances. Moreover, this can be an uncomfortable topic for children or other loved ones to bring up to an elderly relative.

There are certain warning signs that a person may no longer be able to competently handle their finances. These include difficulty counting money, trouble paying bills, potential stolen or otherwise missing money, and warnings from financial institutions that there may be fraudulent activity or other problems with an account.

It is therefore critical for people to participate in advance planning to avoid the financial consequences of cognitive impairment. One way to set up a plan while you are still competent is to create a “springing” power of attorney. This document designates the person who will handle your finances should you become incompetent. This document becomes effective only after you have been diagnosed as mentally impaired. Another option is to appoint a trust company to manage your assets, should you become impaired.

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