Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Other Brain Diseases Require Special Estate Planning Steps

Benjamin LongAlzheimer's, Estate Planning Attorney, Incapacity

Benjamin E. Long: Specializing in Estate Planning for Brain Disease Conditions

Professional Overview:
Benjamin E. Long is a distinguished attorney at Schlagel Long, LLC, focusing on estate planning and probate law. With a rich background in both legal and biological sciences, Benjamin has developed a unique expertise in tailoring estate plans for individuals with neurological conditions, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and multiple sclerosis. His approach combines deep empathy with robust legal strategies, ensuring that every plan is a reflection of his client’s personal journey with their condition.

Specialized Focus on Neurological Conditions:
Understanding the unique challenges posed by brain diseases, Benjamin Long emphasizes the importance of early and tailored estate planning. Recognizing that diseases like Alzheimer’s can impact legal capacity at varying stages, he advises on safeguarding assets and establishing legal documents while clients are still able to make informed decisions. His expertise extends to creating flexible estate plans that can adapt to the unpredictable nature of these illnesses.

Services for Alzheimer's and Dementia Patients:
For those diagnosed with Alzheimer's or dementia, Benjamin offers specialized guidance. He ensures that essential documents are in place before the disease progresses, including wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. He also advises on setting up safeguards like having a trusted individual oversee financial statements, crucial for those whose cognitive abilities may decline unpredictably.

Parkinson’s Disease and Estate Planning:
Recognizing the unique symptoms of Parkinson's, such as changes in facial expression and handwriting, Benjamin prepares tailored documentation to preempt challenges with financial institutions. He ensures that clients’ conditions are legally documented, including variations in signatures, to facilitate smooth financial transactions and legal processes.

Support for Multiple Sclerosis Patients:
For clients with MS, Benjamin emphasizes the importance of having a revocable trust with trusted co-trustees, to ensure continuous management of their affairs during any sudden exacerbations of the condition. He assists in creating an emergency financial and legal roadmap, detailing all critical financial information and contacts.

Educational Background and Recognitions:
A graduate of Kansas State University (B.S. in Biology) and Washburn University School of Law (J.D.), Benjamin brings a unique blend of scientific and legal understanding to his practice. His recognitions include being named a Super Lawyer Rising Star and receiving the Martindale-Hubbell Client Distinction Award. His commitment extends to academia, where he imparts his knowledge as an adjunct faculty member at Washburn Law School and coach of the Kansas State University Mock Trial Team.

Personal Approach:
Benjamin’s approach is deeply personal. He takes the time to understand each client's story, values, and specific needs, ensuring their estate plan reflects not just their financial assets but also their intellectual and spiritual legacies. His goal is to provide peace of mind to individuals and families navigating the complexities of brain diseases, assuring them that their legacy and loved ones are well protected.

Contact and Availability:
Based in Olathe, Kansas, Benjamin is readily available to assist clients across the state. His commitment is to provide comprehensive, compassionate, and specialized legal services for those facing the challenges of brain diseases in their estate planning needs.

Benjamin E. Long, Kansas Estate Planning Attorney

Financial and Estate Planning for Those with Brain Diseases

“Covid-19 or Coronavirus has created health worries and fear for everyone. For those with underlying health issues, which include multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, or other brain diseases, those concerns are even more pronounced.”

There are certain steps that can be taken by individuals, loved ones, and family members to make this challenging time safer and smarter, advises an article “Financial And Estate Planning Steps To Take Now: Special Considerations For Those With Brain Disease” from Forbes.

The Importance of Tailoring Estate Plans to Reflect Individual Experiences of Brain Diseases

Anyone living with a neurologic condition needs to be sure their planning reflects not only their condition but their personal experience of the condition. The variability of each person’s experience of a brain disease, from symptoms and severity to the progression rate and future prognosis to the possibility of any recovery, affects how they need to plan.

For an Alzheimer’s patient, in the early stages, there may be no problems in signing legal documents and putting legal safeguards in place to protect finances. Most people are not aware that the degree of competency to sign legal documents varies, depending upon the complexity of the documents to be signed and the circumstances.

A relatively low level of competency is required to sign a will. This is known as “testamentary capacity.” A higher level of competency is required to sign something like a revocable trust, investment policy statement, etc. Therefore, a person who may be legally able to sign a will may not have the legal capacity to sign other documents. Alzheimer’s patients need to get their entire estate plan in order, as soon as a diagnosis is received.

Safeguards and Planning Strategies for Alzheimer's Patients

Safeguards are extremely important, including having an independent person, like a CPA or trusted family member, receive copies of all monthly bank and brokerage statements, in case of abilities decline faster than anticipated.

Strategies for Managing Finances and Conducting Business from Home for Those with Peripheral Neuropathy

Patients living with peripheral neuropathy may experience issues with balance, burning sensations, dizziness, hypersensitive skin, and pain that make wearing socks or shoes impossible. If the condition becomes so severe that the person becomes homebound, they need to make changes: set up accounts, so bills can be paid online, have income streams set to automatic deposit and simplify and consolidate accounts.

Strategies for Dealing with Facial Expression and Handwriting Changes in Parkinson's Disease

It is important to have a Power of Attorney (POA) that is effective immediately or a revocable living trust with a co-trustee. In this way, you do not have to leave home to conduct your business.

Parkinson’s disease may not be well understood by professional advisors. You’ll need to explain that your facial expression—Parkinsonian masked face—does not mean that you are not responding to a conversation. They need to know that your handwriting may change, becoming small and cramped. This can result in a bank or other financial institution refusing to accept your signature on documents. Your attorney can prepare a document that confirms you are living with Parkinson’s disease and that micrographia is one of your symptoms. The document should include three or four different signatures to reflect the variations. Have each signature witnessed and notarized.

Preparing an Emergency Financial and Legal Roadmap for Those with Multiple Sclerosis

People living with MS (multiple sclerosis) face the possibility of an exacerbation that could leave them incapacitated at any time. A revocable trust to coordinate financial management, with trusted individuals as co-trustees should be in place.

The Importance of Updating or Creating an Estate Plan

For people with these and other brain illnesses, an emergency financial and legal roadmap needs to be prepared. It should include monthly recurring bills, and non-recurring bills like life insurance, property taxes, etc. Contact information for key advisors, your estate planning attorney, CPA, financial advisor, banker, insurance agent, etc., needs to be shared.

Your estate plan should be updated if you haven’t reviewed it in three or four years. If you don’t have an estate plan in place, now is the time to have one created.

Posts About Alzheimer's And Estate Planning

Kansas Estate Planning Legacy Planner

Estate Planning Legacy Planner

Everyday, we work with people who have lost someone they care about. There is so much these folks have to organize and manage. This planner organizes the information they will most need, in our experience, saving so much time and unnecessary cost. Besides organizing your information, it's so important to have a good estate plan that will keep your family out of court and conflict.

Please use the button below to receive a free copy of our Estate Planning Legacy Planner, an organization tool essential to any estate plan designed to help your loved ones take care of you and handle your affairs.

Want To Learn More About Protecting You and the People You Love With a Simple, Custom Estate Plan?