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Can you do estate planning in Maryland if you have mild dementia?

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Estate Planning - Power of Attorney

Estate planning can help with setting up trusts, power of attorney, guardianships and more. However, if you have mild dementia, you may wonder if your estate plan would be valid.

In Maryland, there are considerations and options available for those with mild dementia who wish to engage in estate planning.

Mild dementia

Mild dementia can affect memory, reasoning and judgment. It occurs to a lesser extent than more severe forms of dementia. Individuals with mild dementia may have the capacity to make important decisions regarding their estate. They should do so as expeditiously as possible.

Power of attorney

A power of attorney grants authority to another person to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself. There are different types:

  • Financial Power of Attorney: This type grants authority to your chosen agent to manage your financial affairs. They include paying bills, managing investments and making financial decisions on your behalf.
  • Healthcare Power of Attorney: Also known as a healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney, this document authorizes your chosen agent to make healthcare decisions for you if you are unable to do so. This includes decisions about medical treatments, procedures and end-of-life care.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: A durable power of attorney remains effective even if you become incapacitated due to dementia or other reasons. It ensures continuity in decision-making and allows your agent to continue managing your affairs seamlessly.

Discuss your wishes openly with your chosen agents. Ensure they are willing and able to fulfill their responsibilities.

A will

A will outlines the distribution of your assets. Many people with mild dementia can draft a will if they have the capacity to understand the nature and extent of their property and the consequences of their decisions.


Trusts can be valuable tools in estate planning, allowing for the management and distribution of assets according to specific instructions. Individuals with mild dementia may consider trusts to protect their assets and ensure usage for their intended purposes.


Designating beneficiaries for retirement accounts, life insurance policies and other assets is a major aspect of estate planning. Individuals with mild dementia can make these designations if they have the capacity to understand the implications of their choices.

Possible future challenges

You may worry that others will challenge your plans in the future due to your dementia. One of the most effective ways to stave off potential challenges is to start estate planning early. Address important decisions while cognitive abilities are still intact.

Openly discuss your wishes with trusted family members, friends or advisors. Ensure that everyone understands your intentions.

By taking appropriate steps, you can gain peace of mind during an uncertain time.