Studies have suggested, financial capacity often declines with age, even as confidence in our financial decision-making tends to increase. That’s a dangerous combination, especially if clinical dementia is diagnosed. In a recent Nerd’s Eye View guest post, Steve Starnes, MBA, CFP® describes the role financial advisors can play in protecting and guiding individuals and families as they manage cognitive decline.

Because impaired financial capacity can also be among the earliest symptoms of dementia, advisors are in a unique position to be among the first to recognize when a medical problem may exist – sometimes even before the individuals themselves are aware of it.

As such, Steve suggests advisors should integrate planning for cognitive decline into their general policies and procedures. This best positions an advisor to frame their actions around the all-important, fiduciary question, “How do I make sure I do the right thing for my clients, throughout our lifelong relationship?”

Steve’s in-depth article is written for advisors, but families managing capacity issues may also find the insights helpful in their own financial planning. Just as it’s natural to work with your advisor on topics such as college funding, retirement planning, risk management, and legacy goals, you should also have conversations about the impact cognitive decline and other long-term support needs may have on your financial well-being.