Americans — including Michigan residents — are quickly ageing. With these increased ages come more medical problems. One medical issue that is particularly difficult is dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association one in three American seniors dies with one form of dementia — including Alzheimer’s — or another. These numbers are expected to triple over the next several years as baby boomers reach retirement and above.

One scary side effect of any form of dementia is memory loss. This memory loss generally starts out as simple forgetfulness and gets progressively worse, but either way it can be extremely damaging. Not only can people cause themselves physical harm by forgetting important tasks, they can seriously hurt their financial health.

Thankfully, people can safeguard against some of this harm by setting up a trust. With the proper trust planning, people will be able to easily hand over control over their financial life to a person of their choosing in the event that they are no longer able to be in control. By creating a trust, seniors are able to make decisions ahead of time, when they are still lucid. With a trust in place, it will be up to the trustee to distribute assets and ensure the health and safety of the senior if the senior experiences memory loss.

Experts say, however, that often it is up to seniors’ children to bring up the subject of trust planning with their parents. Experts warn people to look for warning signs of dementia so that financial problems are not ignored. Warning signs include unopened mail, increased gambling, overdraft notices, shutoff notices, new organizational systems and empty bank accounts.

Michigan seniors should keep memory loss issues in mind as they consider their estate planning. Using a trust may be a good solution for many people.

Source: Fox Business, “7 Signs Your Aging Parent Needs Financial Help,” Maryalene LaPonsie, Oct. 18, 2013

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