Research shows there are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia. One in 14 people over the age of 65 have dementia and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80.
Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is a very scary time. There is lots of support available and it is important to remember that you are not alone.
At Humphries Kirk, we are experienced in assisting people with dementia and many of our staff are Dementia Friends. We are happy to meet with you in our offices or in your own home to discuss your personal affairs.
Once you have had some time to adjust to your diagnosis, there a number of key legal matters you should consider.
Reviewing your Will
If you have not reviewed your Will recently or you would like to make one for the first time, now is a good time to do so. The professional drafting your Will must be sure that you understand the contents to allow you to sign it.
It is important to ensure that your Will still benefits the people you want to. It is also good to ensure that it is up-to-date, taking into account any tax or legislation changes since it was signed.
Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs)
People often appreciate the benefits of making a Will as they get older. However, not everybody appreciates the benefits of making LPAs.
An LPA is a legal document in which you appoint people to make decisions on your behalf, should you become unable to do so during your lifetime. This enables you to appoint somebody who you want to manage your affairs, rather than having this imposed upon you.
There are two types of LPA; one in relation to your property and financial affairs (paying bills/selling property) and another in relation to your health and welfare (where you live/care/medical decisions). You can give your health attorney the power to accept or refuse life sustaining treatment on your behalf.
If you lose capacity and you have not made an LPA, a family member or a professional may have to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order on your behalf. This is a costly and time-consuming process. The Court will decide who should manage your affairs. This is often restricted to financial decisions only. It is rare for the Court to appoint a Deputy to manage health and welfare decisions and so these are often made on a “best interests” basis.