B. Smith, beloved cookbook author, restaurateur and model, passed away on February 22nd at the age of 70. After her Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2014, B. and her husband, Dan, co-authored Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance in Our Fight Against Alzheimer’s. In writing the book, the couple sought to raise awareness of the disease in the African American community especially, as African Americans and women are more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
The book provides an honest and intimate view of the experience of partners who are dealing with a devastating diagnosis and want to plan for the future. “We talked about the what ifs,” Dan discussed in an interview with NPR. “We wrote those things out in our wills about end-of-life proxies and things of that sort — which most people don’t do, and I have to be candid with you, most African Americans don’t even want to talk about.”
While a doctor can help you plan for your physical needs and a counselor or support group can help with your emotional journey, your legal situation should also be considered. If you are no longer able to communicate your wishes, whom do you want to make decisions about your health care and finances? Would you wish to be kept alive by extraordinary means? How will you pay for the extraordinary cost of the long-term care you will need without financially devastating yourself or your family?
These are extremely difficult and emotional decisions to make, but unfortunately an Alzheimer’s diagnosis makes it necessary to decide these things and put into place a plan as early as possible. In fact, preplanning for your future to ensure your wishes are carried out and ensure you don’t run out of money is important as you age. If you are over the age of 65, or if you or your loved one has recently received a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s, consulting with an attorney is a necessary step.
At Friedman Elder Law Department, we understand that this is a confusing and stressful time, and we can guide you through the process of planning for the future. We can help you create an estate plan that will protect your assets against the cost of long-term care, and we will provide you with a power of attorney, living will, and a health care surrogate. Together, we can prepare a Life Before Legacy estate plan that will allow you to qualify for government benefits to assist with paying for your needs and preserve your assets to get you the care that you want, as well as give you the ability to still leave a legacy.
Don’t wait until you get a diagnosis. Preparing with the proper estate plan will alleviate stress from your loved ones, ensure that your wishes are carried out, and give you the peace of mind that you deserve.