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Essential Documents After Diagnosis, By Jeffrey S. Hall, MBA, CPA, Esq.

Oct 30, 2016 08:29PM ● By Elena Hutslar

Jeffrey S. Hall, MBA, CPA, Esq.

Essential Documents After Diagnosis

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, it is important to start planning immediately. There are several essential documents to help you once you become incapacitated, but if you don't already have them in place, you need to act quickly after a diagnosis.

Having dementia does not mean an individual is not mentally competent to make planning decisions. The person signing documents must have "testamentary capacity," which means he or she must understand the implications of what is being signed. Simply having a form of mental illness does not mean you automatically lack the required mental capacity.

The following are some essential documents for someone diagnosed with dementia:

  • Power of Attorney. A power of attorney is the most important estate-planning document for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or some other form of dementia. A power of attorney allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf once you become incapacitated. Without a power of attorney, your family would be unable to pay your bills or manage your household without going to court and getting a conservatorship.
  • Health Care Proxy. A health care proxy, like a power of attorney, allows you to appoint someone else to act as your agent for medical decisions.
  • Will and Other Estate Planning Documents. Make sure your estate plan is up to date. If you don't have one, you should have an attorney draw one up. Your estate plan directs who will receive your property when you pass. Once you are deemed incapacitated, you will no longer be able to create an estate plan.

If you haven’t prepared these important documents, make an appointment with the Law Offices of Jeffrey Hall, Inc. at (925) 230-9002, or go to I offer a free 30-minute consultation at either of my offices in Pleasant Hill and Benicia.