Legal Issues when someone has Dementia – Consider Long Term Care Insurance

This week’s blog continues the discussion of Legal Issues when someone has Dementia.  The introductory installment (April 30, 2015) put forth the issue of “Who can speak for someone with dementia?”  The May 14, 2015 installment discussed the situation where the person with dementia has Advance Directives in place.  The May 21, 2015 installment discussed the legal issues in determining whether a dementia sufferer can choose to have new Advance Directives prepared.  The May 30, 2015 installment discussed options in preparing a Health Care Power of Attorney.  The June 4, 2015 installment discussed how to decide whether to prepare a Living Will.  The June 11, 2015 installment discussed some of the basic issues in preparing a General Power of Attorney.  The June 18, 2015 installment discussed the importance of making the General Power of Attorney “durable.”  The June 25, 2015 installment discussed the importance of NOT making the General Power of Attorney “springing.”  The July 2, 2015 installment discussed revoking prior Powers of Attorney.  The July 9, 2015 installment discussed Do Not Resuscitate orders.  The July 16, 2015 installment discussed the Right of Disposition designation.  The July 23, 2015 installment discussed the Will (or Last Will and Testament.)  The July 31, 2015 installment discussed beneficiary designations on life insurance policies, IRAs, annuities, etc.  The August 6, 2015 installment discussed whether to pre-plan a funeral.  The August 14, 2015 installment discussed choosing a final resting place.  The August 28, 2015 installment discussed pre-planning the funeral ceremony.  The September 3, 2015 installment discussed when and how to pay for the pre-planned funeral.  The September 10, 2015 installment discussed medical insurance choices.  Today’s installment will discuss long term care insurance.

Today’s installment continues the discussion of issues to manage when someone finds out that he or she has a disease that causes dementia.  These issues should be managed before the dementia gets worse, before the disease takes away the person’s ability to make decisions.  Along with the issues previously discussed, someone who has dementia (or his or her family) should see whether long term care insurance might be available.

Someone who has a disease that causes dementia is very likely to need long term care in the future.  At the same time, someone who has a disease that causes dementia might have trouble getting long term care insurance.  Nonetheless, it’s worth a try.  After all, insurance quotes are free.

Essentially, the availability of long term care insurance depends on whether a doctor has diagnosed the dementia or the disease that causes it and whether, without a diagnosis, an insurance underwriter can see dementia risks.  If someone with a dementia causing illness applies for long term care insurance early enough, he or she may be able to get coverage.  (Don’t lie on an application in order to get coverage.)

Some long term care insurers issue policies more easily than others.  Some long term care insurance products are easier to get than others.  Even if a “traditional” long term care insurance policy isn’t available, a non-traditional policy might be available.  Some life insurance policies have a long term care rider or an option for lifetime benefits (which can act like long term care insurance.)  Some annuities have long term care features.

Because of the risk of long term care that comes from a dementia related disease, someone who has the early stage of such a disease would be well served at least to try to get long term care insurance in any form that he or she can get.

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