One of the most difficult things for someone to handle is watching a parent suffer from Alzheimer’s. The parent who once took care of you now needs you to take care of him/her. Sometimes the symptoms of Alzheimer’s come on slowly, taking years to worsen. In other cases, Alzheimer’s can progress rapidly. Either way, decisions must be made regarding how best to protect and care for a victim. If you are the child of an Alzheimer’s sufferer, you may also be asking another important question – “How can I protect my parent’s assets when their Alzheimer’s gets worse?”
As the number of older Americans continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, the entire country is starting to pay more attention to the impact Alzheimer’s and other age related dementia diseases have on both victims and loved ones. Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only one in the top ten for which there is no cure or method of prevention. The disease progresses through three stages, with the middle stage typically lasting the longest. During the middle stage, a victim will forget important things, such as his/her address or the names of close family members. By the time a victim reaches the middle stage of Alzheimer’s, assets should already be protected because a sufferer could easily become the victim of unscrupulous predators who prey on the vulnerable. Therefore, it is best to have a plan in place to protect your parent’s assets long before he/she reaches the middle stage of the disease.
There are several ways in which your parent’s assets can be protected. If your parent is not yet showing serious symptom of the disease, meaning they retain the mental capacity to execute a legal agreement, creating a revocable living trust is a good option. In essence, a revocable living trust allows them to transfer all their assets into the trust and name herself as Trustee and you as the successor Trustee. As long as your mother or father is able to manage the trust assets, he/she remains the Trustee. However, when it becomes clear they are no longer mentally capable of performing as the Trustee you will automatically take over as the Trustee. As the Trustee, you will have control over all the trust assets and be able to manage and protect those assets.
In the event that your parent has passed the point at which she is able to enter into a legal agreement, guardianship will be the only option. As guardian of the estate you will have control over your parent’s estate assets, thereby protecting them from dissipation or even theft.
If you have additional questions or concerns about protecting your parent’s assets when her Alzheimer’s gets worse, or about your Illinois estate plan in general, contact the experienced Illinois estate planning attorneys at Nash Bean Ford & Brown, LLP by calling 309-944-2188 to schedule your appointment today.