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Legal and financial

If you have Alzheimer’s or other dementia, it is important for you to be a part of the decision-making about your financial and legal affairs, while you are able to make decisions and sign legal papers. Making arrangements in the early stages means that that you are able to control your own future.

Talk to your family. And make sure your money matters will be in the hands of someone you trust. Arrange for a power of attorney authorizing someone to legally make decisions on your behalf once you are no longer able to. Talk to a lawyer about naming someone to look after your financial interests. Pull together your legal and financial documents such as:

  • Bank accounts
  • Mortgages
  • Insurance policies
  • Pension plans, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs)
  • Investments
  • Home/car ownership
  • Will
Wills and other important documents

As soon as possible after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, make a list of the important documents that you will need to have in place. Reviewing the list with your family members will let you be involved in making decisions about these documents. And it will help your caregiver and family members be aware of your wishes. The names of these documents vary from province to province, and territory to territory, but they include:

  • A will that states how your property should be divided after your death
  • A document that names a substitute decision-maker who can make decisions about financial and legal matters on your behalf when you are no longer able to
  • A document that names a substitute decision-maker for future health-care decisions
  • A “living will” or “advance directive” that describes your wishes for health-care and end-of-life care in the future; this can help your family make difficult decisions that may arise during the course of the disease when you are no longer able to make these decisions for yourself.

Contact a lawyer for specific information about the legal requirements in your province or territory. Or contact your closest Alzheimer Society for more information. Also, gather the following legal and financial documents and information and let a trusted adviser and family member know where they are:

  • Bank accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Loans and mortgages
  • Insurance policies (life, auto, home, disability)
  • Pension plans and RRSPs
  • Investments
  • Real estate, home, business, car ownership
  • Prepaid funeral arrangements and/or cemetery plot

If you are unable to provide this information yourself, other sources for this information include:

  • Personal paperwork (such as chequebooks, monthly bank statements or investment statements)
  • Bank manager
  • Lawyer
  • Financial consultant
  • Previous employers