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Addressing Memory and Your Family

Maintaining family wealth over generations can be challenging. Now is the time to create and share a plan designed to benefit your children and their children.

There's no cure for cognitive decline, but we have a partial solution: being prepared for the unexpected.

Cognitive decline can quickly become a serious issue in any family. Identifying concerns, preferences and goals may help a family prepare for the decisions that come along with cognitive health issues.

By 2050, the number of Americans with Alzheimer's disease is expected to nearly triple to 13.8 million.1 And, in a recent survey conducted by Merrill Lynch, 54% of respondents said Alzheimer's is the scariest disabling condition that one can encounter later in life. Against that backdrop, preparing is essential for our aging population, especially older wealthy individuals, who can be prime targets for fraud and other types of abuse.

Talking about cognitive decline is crucial. Yet discussing what to do if one becomes mentally incapacitated can be one of the hardest steps in a process. It requires both sensitivity and practicality. The resources on this page will help you consider the best ways to start these difficult conversations.

Laws vary, but in our white paper Addressing Memory and Family we discuss a few strategies you may want to keep in mind. They include organizing medical documents and investigating options for power of attorney, including the power to gift and the powers needed to make financial decisions.

When a loved one is no longer recognizable or no longer recognizes us, the world can feel upside down. Conversations and preparations are essential tools for adding a sense of security you can't put a price tag on.


  1. What's the best way to start a conversation about cognitive decline and finances?
  2. How can we guard against poor financial decision-making as a result of cognitive issues?
  3. Are we financially prepared if cognitive decline brings on long-term-care needs?
Read the full Viewpoint

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