Changing Your Will With a Communication Difficulty
In our last post, we talked about why communication intermediaries may be needed in the hospital setting. Today, we discuss the need for communication intermediaries when creating or changing your Will with a communication difficulty. As mentioned in the last post, there are two parts to decision making: 1) understanding the information required to make the decision; and 2) understanding the possible outcomes of the decision. We also mentioned that communication difficulties can hide a person’s ability to make decisions. This is where a communication intermediary can be extremely valuable. Changing your Will with a communication difficulty does not need to be so difficult and we will talk about how.
Henry was prevented from changing his Will due to his communication and cognitive difficulties — Please note the details of this case have been changed to protect the identity of the client
Henry had an acquired brain injury and was unable to show his communication abilities due to his speech and language difficulties. For unrelated reasons, Henry wanted to change his Will. His lawyer was uncomfortable with changing his Will due to concern that Henry did not understand the possible outcome(s) of the changes. Revising your Will with a communication difficulty can cause concern on the part of your legal counsel. Lawyers are not trained to assess communication difficulties and are obliged to protect your interests. Communication Intermediaries are trained to assess communication difficulties and provide strategies to promote better communication with others.
HOW WE CAN HELP WITH CHANGING YOUR WILL WITH A COMMUNICATION DIFFICULTY
We assessed Henry and then attended a meeting with his lawyer to promote Henry’s best communication. Henry was able to change his Will with our help. Changing your Will with a communication difficulty can be challenging but is possible with the right support.
HELPING WITH CHANGING YOUR WILL WHEN YOU HAVE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
People with Alzheimer’s Disease are also particularly at risk for being denied access to changing their Will. It is important to make these decisions early after diagnosis to ensure change are made while decision making abilities remain in place. Communication Intermediaries can help in these situations to ensure communication is the best it can be.
As indicated in our last two posts, intermediaries follow strict guidelines from the Communication Disability Access Canada (CDAC). CDAC helps people across Canada who can’t communicate and deserve fair assessment to find out if changing your Will with a communication difficulty is possible.
Have you or has someone you know been denied the right to change your/his/her Will?
Bobi Tychynski Shimoda is a Speech-Language Pathologist with more than a decade of experience working with neurological communication and swallowing disorders. She has worked in a variety of settings including inpatient rehab, acute care, community, and private practice. She is highly skilled in assessment, and innovative treatment approaches.