The Dementia Dilemma: Will It Rob You of Your Inheritance?

10:37 pm Probate, Wills

last will 150x150 The Dementia Dilemma: Will It Rob You of Your Inheritance?One-third of seniors die with some form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, including Alzheimer’s, which currently affects more than five million Americans.

Beyond the care giving burdens this places on a family, there are also increasing instances of seniors being exposed to financial exploitation because of their dementia, including signing assets over to people who normally would never inherit.

So what if your inheritance becomes a victim of an elderly relative’s dementia?  You will likely want to contest the will – and if you do, you need to find out the following:

Who wrote the will? Was the will prepared by an estate planning attorney already familiar to your family, or was it one of those wills downloaded from the Internet?

Was your relative taking any medications?  Some medications can cause memory loss.  In addition, knowing what medications your relative is currently taking can clue you in to a dementia diagnosis.

What do the medical records indicate?  If you have access to medical records, you will gain the necessary knowledge you may need to successfully challenge a questionable bequest, especially if your relative lacked the testamentary capacity to execute a new will.

What do care givers say?  If your relative was under the care of a professional healthcare worker, they will be able to attest to his or her ability to make decisions.

When was probate opened?  You have a limited time to contest a will in California.  If a probate petition has already been filed, you should file before the hearing on the petition.  You will need the help of a probate attorney to make your claim.

For more information on protecting an inheritance, contact our Orange County law firm.

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