Q: I have been married for 1 1/2 yrs. I believe my husband is showing signs of dementia which he will be tested for in July
My question is that my husband has had his son- who is a lawyer- guardian over his estate. Does this change things for me as the wife? Do I need to have a lawyer put everything over in my name with my husband to have authority? Or will I be left without any say so over my husband, his care, and his estate.
Thank you for the question. First of all, I am sorry to hear about your situation. I have family members who suffer from Alzheimer's disease/dementia. It's a tough thing to go through for everyone involved.
I will preface my answer by pointing out that this is a complicated issue. A lot of what I'm about to say depends on how advanced your husband's condition is and whether he's competent. If he's not, a court-ordered guardianship is your only real option, as your husband could not legally sign documents. That said, at minimum, I believe your husband needs to setup a durable power of attorney, advance directive for health care and a last will and testament. The first two documents will allow you (or another person your husband chooses) to manage his finances and health care in the event he becomes unable to handle those things on his own. A will states who is to receive your husband's property upon his death. Depending upon your goals, you may also want to consider a revocable living trust. Among other things, the successor trustee of a revocable living trust can take over and manage the property of the trust in the event your husband is incapacitated.
I hope this helps. Again, this is a complex matter. I highly recommend that you talk to an estate planning attorney. I offer free consultations. You can schedule one by calling (405) 928-4075.
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