While many people in Florida think of estate planning to cover the distribution of their assets after they pass away, this kind of planning process can be just as vital to address incapacity during a person’s lifetime. In the United States, someone develops Alzheimer’s disease every 65 seconds, and there are 5.7 million Americans with Alzheimer’s, a number that is on the rise. Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease to treat, with a lifetime cost of care that tops $341,000.

While Medicare and Medicaid may cover some percentage of the costs of treating Alzheimer’s, individuals and families will likely have to carry the vast majority of the associated costs. Because of this, the disease can be devastating to financial well-being and savings for the future. Therefore, it can be important to plan for the future potential for Alzheimer’s before the disease enters a family’s lives. This underlines the need for accurate, up-to-date traditional estate planning documents, including wills and powers of attorney. Once the disease develops, the creator may not be deemed competent to make additional changes.

It is also important to check the beneficiaries of life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other funds to ensure that they are correct. In addition, if there is a risk of Alzheimer’s, it can be important to learn about the different types of support services available, from in-home care to assisted living centers and nursing facilities. Long-term care insurance may be an important investment that can pay off substantially in the future.

Throughout the process of planning for Alzheimer’s, it is important to consult professionals. An estate planning attorney can help people to deal with emergent issues in case of a diagnosis as well as planning for the future. This can include preparing documents such as durable powers of attorney and living wills to state the patient’s health care desires and name an agent to make treatment decisions.