Receiving an early diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease is a life-changing moment. While it may prompt a range of emotions and concerns about the future, one crucial aspect that can provide a sense of empowerment and security is estate planning. Proactive planning after such a diagnosis can help ensure that your wishes are honored, your family is protected, and your medical and financial affairs are in order. We know how concerned you may be and want to share a few key steps to consider in your Wisconsin estate planning journey following an early Parkinson’s diagnosis.

  1. Understand your diagnosis and project future needs. Begin by gaining a thorough understanding of your diagnosis and how it might progress. Parkinson’s Disease affects everyone differently, and your specific situation will influence your planning needs. You may want to consider how your health may change over time and what that means for your living situation, healthcare needs, and day-to-day assistance. This understanding is crucial for creating a comprehensive estate plan with your experienced Wisconsin estate planning attorney that addresses your anticipated needs.


  1. Update your current estate planning. If you have Wisconsin estate planning in place, you will want to review and possibly update your planning with your attorney to ensure it reflects your current wishes, including the distribution of your assets and the care of yourself as well as any dependents. If you do not have an estate plan, now is the time to create one.


  1. Consider adding a trust agreement to your estate plan. A trust agreement can provide you with more control over how your assets are used and distributed during your lifetime and after your passing. It can also facilitate the management of your affairs without the need for court intervention, preserving privacy and reducing potential conflicts among family members. 


  1. Establish or update your durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney for finances is vital. These legal planning tools allow you to appoint someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so. For finances, this encompasses not only managing your assets and financial affairs but also ensuring that a trusted loved one can apply for public benefits should you need to find ways to pay for long-term care.


  1. Document your healthcare goals. With any type of critical diagnosis it is imperative to document your preferences for medical treatment and end-of-life care with your estate planning attorney. Discussing and documenting your wishes early on ensures that they are respected, even if you are unable to communicate them later.


  1. Plan for long-term care. Given the progressive nature of Parkinson’s, consider long-term care planning. This includes evaluating insurance options, Medicaid planning, and other resources to cover the cost of home care, assisted living, or nursing home care. An experienced Wisconsin estate planning and elder law attorney can guide you through the options and legal strategies to preserve your assets while ensuring you receive the care you need.


  1. Communicate with your loved ones. Open and honest communication with your family and loved ones about your wishes and the details of your estate plan is essential. This can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that your appointed decision-makers are prepared to act on your behalf when the time comes.

While an early diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease undoubtedly brings challenges, it also provides an opportunity to take control of your future through thoughtful estate planning. By taking these key steps, you can ensure that your wishes are honored, your loved ones are cared for, and you are prepared for the changes ahead. Working with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you navigate the complexities of your unique situation, offering peace of mind to you and your family.

We know this article raises more questions than it answers. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, do not wait to start the estate planning process.  As an estate planning and elder law firm, we urge our clients to take advantage of these tools and resources, ensuring comprehensive financial health and security. We want to help you protect your aging relatives. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today