Alzheimer's Caregiving

Frequently Asked Questions

7. What legal and financial documents are important for a person with Alzheimer’s to have?

Check to see that the person with Alzheimer’s has the following documents and that they are up to date.

  • A durable power of attorney for finances gives someone the power to make legal and financial decisions on behalf of the person with Alzheimer’s
  • A durable power of attorney for health care gives someone called a proxy or an agent the power to make healthcare decisions on behalf of the person with Alzheimer’s
  • A living will states the person's wishes for end-of-life health care.
  • A do-not-resuscitate (DNR) form tells healthcare staff that the person does not want them to try to return the heart to a normal rhythm if it stops or is beating unevenly.
  • A will tells how the person wants his or her property and money to be distributed after death.
  • A living trust tells someone called a trustee how to distribute a person’s property and money.

These legal and financial arrangements will help when the person with Alzheimer’s disease can no longer make decisions about money or medical care. They can also help prevent serious problems such as financial abuse.

An attorney can help create the right legal documents. Samples of basic health planning documents can be downloaded from state government websites. Area Agency on Aging officials, state legal aid offices, and the state bar association may also provide legal advice or help.

See more tips on legal and financial planning for people with Alzheimer’s disease.

(Watch the video to learn more about what to do after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. To enlarge the video, click the brackets in the lower right-hand corner. To reduce the video, press the Escape (Esc) button on your keyboard.)