Most people hate thinking about growing old, and by the time they reach a place of acceptance, time may be running out for taking care of important matters. Estate planning isn't something many young or even middle-age people consider, but putting affairs in order while one is still mentally agile can save a lot of difficulty down the road. Dementia, in particular, is an alarming condition that affects many men and women in Ontario and may impede the ability to make good choices.
Without diving too deep into medical jargon, there are some facts about dementia worth knowing. There are more than 100 different types of dementia, and the incidence rate is growing as the average age of the population increases. Some of the effects of dementia include memory loss, difficulty communicating and making complex decisions.
For those reasons, it is important to have a plan for the future in place before it becomes difficult or impossible to make such plans. Experts recommend keeping up to date with filing taxes, and making a will, if that hasn't already been done. Furthermore, it may be worth establishing power of attorney in case the day comes that an individual is no longer able to care for him or herself, or make day-to-day financial decisions. Doing so now will allow that person to choose someone he or she trusts and discuss the arrangement together, rather than waiting until it becomes necessary for someone to be appointed by the court.
Not everyone will suffer from dementia, but unfortunately, there is no way to predict what the future will bring. Better to make arrangements now than to scramble later or, worse, miss the opportunity altogether. Estate planning does not have to be difficult. With the assistance of an Ontario lawyer who practices estate law, it may be possible to secure peace of mind for the days and years to come.
Source: castanet.net, "Dementia Aware: what you need to know about financial, legal and health-care planning", Tracey Maxfield, Jan. 27, 2017