Aug 23, 2021 Financial Considerations After A Bad Diagnosis

Sometimes a bad diagnosis puts you on a new life path you didn’t consider. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and Dementia come with many medical decisions, but we often get asked how to organize finances in light of the change.


There are a few things you can consider financially to prepare yourself. First, make sure your legal work is up to date and includes a Power of Attorney that is active immediately.

1. Financial Power of Attorney – Enables you to act as POA for financial purposes.
2. Health care Power of Attorney – Lets you make health care decisions for someone
3. You may consider updating your existing legal paperwork to include a special needs trust. Then, if something happened to the “healthy” spouse first, it could help protect assets.


Planning for the progression of care is also essential. It isn’t entirely financial but making sure that your house will work over time and that you could accommodate help. That help may be actual caregiving or respite care, so you can take a break if need be. Making sure there is a plan for those planned and unplanned expenses can let you concentrate on more critical areas of life. Of course, there are other considerations, but that has a lot to do with how the disease progresses.


From a fundamental standpoint, I think of three principles:

1. Get help early and often. Too many people try to do everything on their own. It seems that people who get assistance are more likely to remain independent longer(2).
2. It can be helpful to keep your decisions “in front of you.” Choose while it is still your choice to make. If you wait until “there is no other way,” you waited too long. It is less stressful to deal with options within our power, and making decisions under stress can result in riskier decisions(1).
3. The best time may be now. So please take advantage of what you can do now while you are still able to do it. Prioritize what is important and enjoy the time you have.


These are tough decisions to make and challenging questions to answer. Consider sitting down with your advisor to start planning your roadmap. You can contact us here.




1. Coates, J. M., & Herbert, J. (2008). Endogenous steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor. Proceedings of the national academy of sciences, 105(16), 6167-6172.
2. Shapiro, A., & Taylor, M. (2002). Effects of a community-based early intervention program on the subjective well-being, institutionalization, and mortality of low-income elders. The Gerontologist, 42(3), 334-341.

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