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If I Have Alzheimer's, Can I Still Make an Estate Plan?

 Posted on July 05, 2024 in Estate Planning

CT estate lawyerBeing diagnosed with Alzheimer’s can be frightening. You may have serious fears about what is to come. The time to start making any plans you can make is now. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning it gets worse as time goes on. It is important to act now to ensure that you have all your nursing home financial planning, powers of attorney, and other estate planning documents completed before you experience a loss of capacity. In Connecticut, you must have what is called testamentary capacity in order to create a will or a trust. This capacity must exist at the time you execute these documents. A Metro New York Area estate planning attorney can help assess your current ability to finalize these important documents. You need a lawyer who is experienced in the evolving field of elder law.

What is Testamentary Capacity? 

Testamentary capacity is the minimum standard a person must meet to create a will or trust. You must be able to establish three facts: 

  • You understand the nature of your will or trust. You know what these documents are for, what they will do, and why you are creating them. 
  • You understand the nature and extent of your property. You do not need to be able to list every single thing you own, but you should be generally aware of the types of property that belong to you. If you know you have, for example, a bank account, a car, a house, and some furniture, you will likely meet this test. 
  • You understand the effect your will or trust will have. You are aware that you are directing how your property is to be distributed after you pass away. 

What if I Have Good Days and Bad Days or Good Mornings and Bad Evenings?

You must have testamentary capacity at the time that you execute your will or trust. If you have good days where you are quite lucid and have testamentary capacity, you can sign your will or trust on a good day. If we find that you are having a bad day and cannot show the proper capacity, we will try to reschedule or ask you to call us when you are having a good day. Many people have what is called "Sundowner’s," where their Alzheimer’s mostly affects them later in the day and overnight. If this is what you have, we will meet with you early in the morning, when you will most likely show the necessary capacity. We may ask to speak with your doctors to establish evidence of your capacity.

Contact a Metro New York Area Estate Planning Attorney

Ivey, Barnum & O'Mara, LLC is one of the oldest local law firms, with over 70 years of combined legal experience. Our caring Greenwich, CT estate planning lawyers understand the importance of helping seniors live the life they choose and retain control over their personal property. Contact us at 203-661-6000 for a complimentary consultation.

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