As a potential beneficiary and heir to your parent’s estate, you’ve always known that you’d have to play a role in taking care of it. One thing that you have always been concerned about was what would happen if your mom or dad could no longer make good, sound decisions about their estate.
It is important for anyone who has an estate plan to have their mental capacity assessed regularly, because that assessment can help prove that they knew what they were doing when making changes to their estate plans. If you believe that your mother or father no longer has the mental capacity to be making serious or potentially life-altering decisions, then it may be time to step in.
Assessing a patient’s mental capacity is a doctor’s job
If you have concerns about your mother’s or father’s mental capacity, start by taking them to their family doctor. For example, if you notice that they’re forgetting things more often or that they get confused when they wake up in a new place, they could be having onset symptoms of a condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Taking them to their medical provider is the first step in getting a diagnosis and then seeing how far the illness has progressed, if one is present.
Medical providers should always assume a patient has the mental capacity to make decisions until they can prove otherwise. Once they examine them, ask questions and determine if an illness or impairment is leading to issues, then they will be able to state whether or not they have the capacity to make decisions or if that capacity may be impacted in the future.
What should you do if a medical provider agrees that your loved one shouldn’t be making their own decisions?
If a medical provider believes that they are no longer able to care for themselves or need regular assistance, you may want to take that assessment to their attorney. That way, the attorney will know about their condition and can help you make sure that the estate plan is not changed due to manipulative tactics.