Financial Advisors and Diminished Capacity

March 26, 2020 | About RDAC, Caregiver Resources

The role of a financial advisor is to help clients make the best use of their financial resources. Often people’s financial goals change as they grow older and approach retirement, or a different phase in their lives. Financial goals change even more when an individual or family is faced with dementia. 

Any type of dementia or memory loss causes what is referred to in this field as “diminished mental capacity.” There are legal definitions and determinations for diminished capacity, but the essence of the term is that a person becomes unable to make decisions in their own best interest. As dementia progresses, a person’s reasoning declines and they become less and less able to understand and communicate clear choices. Importantly, this significantly affects a person’s ability to make financial decisions. It then becomes necessary for others, including their financial advisor, to support that person and assist in guiding and managing their financial health. 

Rethinking Dementia board member, Steve Starnes, MBA, CFP®, is one of the leading experts in the U.S. on how financial advisors can and should help protect clients with dementia. He has written extensively on the subject, including a recent article for The Nerd’s Eye View on Kitces.com, one of the pre-emanate sources of thought leadership for financial planning professionals. His article, “Protecting and Guiding Clients with Diminishing Mental Capacity,” addresses how to guide clients with dementia, and their families. It also addresses regulatory requirements and how to navigate business risks. This resource will be helpful for anyone in the financial services field who would like to learn how to better serve clients with dementia in any stage. 

Read the full article “Protecting and Guiding Clients with Diminishing Mental Capacity” here


Steve Starnes, MPA, CFP ® is a Principal with Grand Wealth Management in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a passionate advocate for financial planning for seniors and those experiencing dementia. Steve has several professional contributions published in the Journal of Financial Planning and he has been quoted in numerous national publications. Steve has also been recognized for his contributions to the financial services industry by InvestmentNews (“40 Under 40,” 2015) and the Financial Planning Association of the National Capital Area (“Financial Planner of the Year,” 2012). Steve Serves on the board of Rethinking Dementia. To learn more, contact Steve directly here.