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Guardianship and dementia

As soon as you notice the first indications of dementia in a loved one, it is wise to make sure that you make all the necessary arrangements to ensure that his or her end-of-life wishes are understood. It is also crucial to consider whether or not this person needs a legal guardian to act on his or her behalf and defend his or her best interests.

The reality of living with dementia is that it may take many years for a person who suffers from it to pass away. In the meantime, he or she deserves to remain safe and secure, and not fall prey to ugly manipulations by unscrupulous individuals. Dementia affects each person differently, but facing dementia without a guardian to protect the sufferer's rights and best interest is a truly frightening prospect.

It is also crucial to make sure that a loved one you suspect suffers from dementia has a written will that lays out the wishes while he or she is still of sound enough mind to make those wishes known. If a will does not exist before the individual loses the capacity to create such a document reliably, then all parties involved may face a difficult legal dilemma.

While it is possible to assign a guardian after a person is already practically incapacitated by dementia, it is not simple. Doing so requires navigating a number of complex laws and processes. Be sure to seek out all the legal counsel you need to address this important issue as soon as you can for the good of the dementia sufferer that you love.

Source: FindLaw, "Legal Issues: Caring for Parents with Dementia," accessed Jan. 12, 2018

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