According to a recent article in the New York Times, new research indicates that one of the first signs of developing dementia/Alzheimer’s is an inability to understand money, credit, contracts and agreements. This severly affects not only the person’s family, but also financial advisers, lawyers, and other professionals who deal with these individuals. Many professionals say they are finding themselves in difficult situations filled with dilemmas when their clients’ minds seem to be slipping. The legal tests for incapacity and the rules of professional responsibility governing lawyers frequently are not adequate in these situations to serve the individual’s best interests, especially when there is no close family member able to take resonsibility for the person.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the largest nongovernmental regulator for securities firms doing business in the United States, recently held a meeting with individual financial services companies and the Alzheimer’s Association to formulate guidelines on how to deal with clients who have trouble remembering and reasoning. This is not a new problem, but one that is increasing as the population ages.
Read Article in NYTimes: Alzheimer’s Warning Sign – Money Problems – Vanishing Mind – NYTimes.com.