According to a study by the Public Health Agency of Canada, 35 per cent of Canadians with a neurological condition such as Alzheimer's disease reported having experienced a financial crisis in the past 12 months.
While the connection between dementia and financial problems is well known, many families avoid the topic of capacity and consent until it's too late. The reality, though, is that the number of Canadians living with dementia is expected to double to more than a million by 2031, and now is the time for planning for incapacity.
Aside from deterioration of health, the problems arising from degenerative neurological disease are various. Individuals' careers are cut short, and the costs associated with long-term care are high. In many cases, even when there is enough money set aside to cover these costs, the disease leads to cognitive disability that in turn results in financial missteps and unnecessarily diminished assets.
At Hagel Lawfirm, we are experienced estate litigators, and we have seen the problems that arise from poor long-term planning. That is why we advise our clients to begin making decisions related to incapacity as soon as possible -- and well before the onset of the illness.
For example, it is important to draft an enforceable will, as well as to create powers of attorney for property and personal care. Depending on your financial situation, your plan may also include setting up a trust so that complex assets can remain under control when you are no longer able to control them yourself.
If you or a family member has concerns about capacity and consent, then don't hesitate to speak with an experienced estate planning lawyer.