Cona Elder Law


Top 8 Things to Do After a Dementia Diagnosis

In what is becoming all too common, another celebrity has filed for conservatorship (known as Guardianship in New York) of a family member. In this case, Jay Leno is seeking to become the conservator of his wife of 43 years: Mavis Leno, 77, who suffers from dementia. Jay Leno has petitioned the Court seeking to create a living trust and other estate planning documents on Mavis’ behalf to manage her assets and provide for her care.

Of all people, why wouldn’t Jay Leno and his wife have taken care of their estate planning? After all, they are reportedly worth $450 Million! And Mavis was diagnosed with dementia some years ago. What should they have done? Read on…

Top 8 Things to Do After a Dementia Diagnosis

  1. Sign a Power of Attorney naming an agent who can handle finances on your behalf.
  2. Execute a Health Care Proxy and Living Will naming an agent who can make health care decisions for you.
  3. Review your Last Will and Testament to determine if you need to make revisions or updates.
  4. Engage in Asset Protection Planning to: 
    1. Ensure you will have funds to provide for your care during your lifetime
    2. Leave your care options open (home care, assisted living, etc.)
    3. Leave a legacy for your heirs and loved ones.
  5. Analyze Your Assets to Determine if You Need Estate Tax Planning, keeping in mind that the federal estate tax laws will be reverting back at the end of 2025 to $5 Million (adjusted for inflation).
  6. Meet with an experienced and compassionate Elder Law attorney, like the attorneys at Cona Elder Law, who understand the dementia and Alzheimer’s journey.
  7. Get Connected to Resources in the Community, such as the Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia Center, and, for counseling, caregiver support, referrals, and day programs.
  8. Talk with Your Loved Ones About All of the Above! Communication is key. Discuss: 
    1. Your health care wishes
    2. Your preferred living arrangements (i.e. age-in-place, assisted living, etc.)
    3. Your estate plan
    4. Who you have appointed as your fiduciaries and why
    5. Propose a family meeting together with your Cona Elder Law attorney. 

It is vital at this point in the journey that your “crew” joins the team, and everyone begins rowing in the same direction. A little effort now creates smooth seas for safe passage in the future.

Jennifer B. Cona, Founder and Managing Partner of Cona Elder Law, serves on the Board of Trustees of the Long Island Alzheimer’s and Dementia (LIAD) Center and is the immediate past Chair of the Board. She has volunteered with LIAD for over 20 years. 

About the Author Cona Elder Law

Cona Elder Law is a full service law firm based in Melville, LI. Our firm concentrates in the areas of elder law, estate planning, estate administration and litigation, special needs planning and health care facility representation. We are proud to have been recognized for our innovative strategies, creative techniques and unparalleled negotiating skills unendingly driven toward our paramount objective - satisfying the needs of our clients.

follow us on:

Accessibility Toolbar

Demo Title

This will close in 0 seconds