Renowned newsman Mike Wallace died in April at the age of 93. His legacy includes a lifetime of hard-hitting journalism and overcoming a personal battle with depression. It also includes living with dementia in his final years. Though not widely known, the tough-as-nails reporter suffered an ailment that 1 out of every 8 people will suffer from, and one that robs people of their cognitive abilities.
Even if you are young and aren’t too worried about dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, you should create your estate plan to specifically address what happens in the event you are incapacitated. Here’s what you need to do:
Lesson 1: Make your choices known.
Even if you lose capacity, you can make it easier for your healthcare providers and family to know what you want. By creating advance medical directives and powers of attorney, you can both set your wishes in writing and give someone else the power to make choices for you should the time come. However, you must create these documents while you still have the cognitive ability to make choices.
Lesson 2: Take action today.
Diseases and accidents can strike us at any moment. Many people are reluctant to create estate plans because the thought of dying is so intimidating. But waiting doesn’t help the problem get better or make the reality go away. You need to act now while you can.