You take each other for better and for worse. But how do you protect your assets when worse includes dementia? I’m Amy E. Feldman

A listener wrote in to ask how—short of divorce—to protect marital assets from debts or reckless behavior of a spouse with dementia. When someone is in the early stages of mental decline and can still make some decisions, that’s when to have him sign a durable power of attorney form, which gives someone else the power to make financial and healthcare decisions.

But that ship may already have sailed; if the person is already too incapacitated to understand, then the spouse has to go to court to be designated the person’s guardian, which would take away the incapacitated person’s ability to make financial decisions. The problem is proving to the court that the spouse is truly incapacitated, as opposed to simply impulsive, and frustrating. There are elder care lawyers you can find by searching online to help you protect yourself and your spouse from the financial peril the disease causes.

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