Legal Issues When Dealing with Dementia

Potential Client: “Mr. Garza, I’d you to help me draft a deed for my mother. She wants to give me her house.”

Me: “OK, can I speak with your mother?”

Potential Client: “Well, she sometimes zones out and is confused, but she knows what she’s doing–most days.”

Dementia (and other neurological diseases) commonly confront attorneys when we are asked to handle Elder Law matters and related legal issues.

Here’s a link to a brief but excellent pamphlet relating to Dementia, and how to address care for aging loved ones. It covers Guardianships, Estate Planning, Disability Planning, Long Term Care Options, and Hospice in the event that Dementia or another neurological disease poses a challenge to your family member or friend.

http://www.texasbar.com/Content/NavigationMenu/ForThePublic/FreeLegalInformation/ElderLaw/DementiaGuide.pdf

Texas Durable Power of Attorney and Form

A financial power of attorney is a legal instrument that gives another person (called an attorney-in-fact) the authority to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf.  A financial power of attorney can be as broad, or as specific as you want it to be.  For example, a power of attorney can authorize someone to make banking, tax, litigation, and/or financial planning decisions on your behalf.  A financial power of attorney does not, however, encompass medical decisions–a separate medical power of attorney is needed for that purpose.

You can make the financial power of attorney effective immediately after it is signed, or make it effective in the event of your incapacity (the inability to make decisions on your own behalf).

Although the State of Texas has promulgated a standard form to be used (see the link below), you should consult with an attorney when preparing a financial power of attorney to ensure that it accurately reflects your needs and wishes.

http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/PB/htm/PB.XII.htm#490

http://sabusinessattorney.com/blog1/2011/09/30/texas-durable-power-of-attorney-and-form/