Dementia and planning for the future

Beautiful forget me nots

The NHS reports that there are more than 850,000 people in the UK who live with Dementia. This equates to one in 14 over the age of 65, and 1 in 6 people over the age of 80.  The Alzheimer’s Society also estimates that there are at least 42,000 younger people also living with Dementia. 

This is a very real disease that more and more of us are needing to come to terms with, either for ourselves or for someone we know and love.

As an organisation, we have committed to learning more about Dementia and its effects on both those living with it, but also for their loved ones.

We are having more and more clients approaching us asking for advice on our services in light of Dementia.  It is a pleasure for us to help and provide a suitable service; be that with Will writing or Lasting Powers of Attorney at a time that can be very hard for all involved.

If you or anyone you love is affected by Dementia – you may be simply worried about it for the future, have suspicions of it, or have even just been diagnosed – our advice is to act quickly to ensure that everything that can be done to protect you and ensure your wishes are carried out is done so. 

What does this mean, what can I do?

At its simplest, we initially recommend two things:

Ensure that a valid and robust Will is in place.  If you don’t have a Will in place, you really should in order to avoid being declared intestate, if you do have Will, we will happily review it for free and ensure that it still matches your requirements.

Set up and register Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) a legal document that allows individuals to give people they trust the authority to manage their affairs if they lack capacity to make certain decisions for themselves in the future.

Can someone with or suspected of having Dementia set these up? In short, it depends on the individual – the thing we are sure on is that it is really important to act quickly to ensure that Mental Capacity is still ok.

Mental Capacity is defined as:

“.. being able to make and communicate your own decisions.” 

Someone may lack mental capacity if they can’t:

  • Understand information about a particular decision;
  • Remember that information long enough to make the decision;
  • Weigh up the information to make the decision; or
  • Communicate their decision.

You can read more on this here from the Mental Health Foundation

We will work with you to ensure that your planning in this area is completed as promptly, efficiently and in a manner that is as understandable as possible.

As set out in the Mental Capacity Act 2005 it is generally assumed that you have mental capacity unless you have had an assessment showing you don’t.

However, if there is any cause for concern, and to ensure the robustness of any of the services you engage us for, we will typically request that an assessment is carried out, ideally by your GP.   You can phone and request this from you Doctor, more information on the process from the NHS is here.

Why might we ask for an assessment?  In short, this protects you and will help to ensure that your wishes are carried out in full.  Unlikely as it may seem, there are many cases of Wills and other Estate Planning that have been contested down the line, with “dementia” being stated as the reason for contestation.   With an assessment properly carried out and recorded the likelihood of a successful contest is minimalised considerably.

Contact us today for a free and no obligation consultation. 

The priorities for anyone in this situation are your Will and LPA’s, however there are other considerations that you may look at to ensure the protection of your estate and legacy which we will happily take you through, these may be:

  • Protection of your assets and home from unnecessary long term care fees;
  • Protection from unnecessary Inheritance Tax; and
  • General protection for your loved ones to ensure that they benefit as much as possible from your legacy.

We are Dementia Friends, find out more about this brilliant initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society here.

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