Living With Early Onset Parkinson's — Financial & Legal Issues
No one with early onset Parkinson's disease can absolutely predict what lies ahead. But doing your best to plan for the future can empower and protect you and those you love.
Even though Parkinson's disease tends to progress more slowly in younger people, making financial and legal plans now is important and becomes even more critical when there are dependent family members to consider.
The decisions involved in this kind of planning can be difficult to make, and the anxiety associated with these decisions often keeps these tasks at the bottom of our "to-do" list indefinitely. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time — may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to financial and legal matters. Consulting with professionals for guidance in these areas can also make the process much easier to understand and complete.
You'll find a run-down of financial issues below. For other kinds of issues, take a look at our What You Should Know Page.
Chronic illness can lead to increased medical costs and a resulting need for careful attention to finances.
Estate planning documents provide for the management of your decisions while you are alive if you cannot make them yourself (powers of attorney and advanced directives) and the distribution of your assets (wills and trusts).
These documents authorize your designated agent to handle your financial and healthcare affairs (including life-extending or life-ending treatment decisions) on your behalf if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.
If an individual has no agents acting under powers of attorney, a family member may petition the courts to appoint a guardian of the person to manage a person's healthcare decisions and/or a guardian of the estate to manage a person's money and property. However, guardianships are expensive and invasive court proceedings. In many cases having powers of attorney in place can avoid the guardianship process.