It’s not easy if your dad has dementia. Seeing the person you looked up to lose their mental capacities can be hard to take.

Estate planning becomes more urgent than ever if your father starts to suffer from dementia. If he does not already have an estate plan in place, you need to help him make one while he is still mentally capable.

If your dad has never brought up the topic of their will, it can be a delicate subject to broach. You do not want him to think you are only interested in his money. However, you do not want to see everything he worked so hard for go to the taxman or be given to Maud, his new, younger, 73-year-old girlfriend that he met two weeks ago.

Dads can keep financial information in funny places. Get access to all the documentation while he can still remember where it is. Whether he kept all the information in a dusty old file under the floorboards or somewhere in the cloud, having access will allow you to make sure plans are in place.

A will made when someone is not mentally competent may be considered invalid — useful if you find he has already signed everything over to Maud. If there is no will and you do not think your father is mentally competent, you may need to file for guardianship instead. This process involves having your father declared legally incompetent and will require a psychological examination and a court hearing.

Laws related to elderly parents can be complicated, especially when mental illness is involved. It is wise to meet with an attorney to guide you through these difficult times.