Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC

Quick Topic: Congnitive Impairment, Guardianship, and Estate Planning

brain1Our own Ed Reda penned a short piece on the topic of impairment and the issues it creates in estate planning.

As our population ages, more and more attorneys are dealing with clients with cognitive impairment.  What is cognitive impairment?  One clinical definition is “A change in intellectual capacity characterized by a loss in both memory and executive functioning.” (Dr. Stafford Henry).  Executive functioning involves using the higher levels of the brain to plan ahead, organize, strategize, multi-task, problem solve and engage in abstract reasoning.  Among the symptoms of cognitive impairment include forgetfulness, vapid or vacuous facial expression and impairment of language function.  Individuals suffering from cognitive impairment are at risk for being manipulated and taken advantage of.  In cases where the impairment is great enough, a family attorney may recommend that guardianship proceedings be instituted in order to protect the impaired individual.  Estate planning for an individual with cognitive impairment can be particularly problematic.  Individuals with cognitive impairment can present themselves to appear quite normal or “with it”.  Often, only a trained medical professional can make a determination that an individual is suffering from cognitive impairment.  Estate plans made by individuals suffering from cognitive impairment may be subject to being contested or challenged by family members who are disappointed with the estate plan.  For all of the foregoing reasons, clients should attend to their estate planning while they are clearly healthy.   Notwithstanding our human inclination to procrastinate, “sooner” is definitely better than “later” when it comes to estate planning.

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Reda | Ciprian | Magnone, LLC serves the public and other Illinois attorneys by providing timely, accessible information about Illinois law, specifically, estate planning, probate, entity formation, corporate, landlord-tenant, real estate & other areas of the law. Our firm has assisted clients as far away as France and India in their Illinois legal matters.

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Probate Law Landlord Tenant Law Corporate Law Real Property Law Estate Planning