The Legal Aspects Of Dementia
As many are aware, Dementia is an illness that affects the brain and causes a shortened attention span, memory loss and confusion. In his latest blog, Wills & Probate Solicitor, Keith Baldock-Grimes discusses the legal aspects of Dementia…
Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of diseases which target the brain. Alzheimer’s Disease, for example, is a well-known cause of dementia. Sadly, almost 600 people in the UK develop dementia every day. There are currently 850,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the UK and this number is set to increase.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for dementia and once an individual is diagnosed with dementia, they must live with it for the rest of their life. Some professionals argue that prevention is better than cure and research to find new medical treatments continues.
A healthy balanced lifestyle with social interaction is thought to be one of the best ways to prevent dementia. Social interaction ensures that your brain is regularly stimulated, however, the reality of dementia is that we are all likely to be affected, directly or indirectly, at some point in our lives.
It is therefore important to get your affairs in order as much as possible, while you are well, for your peace of mind, the security of your loved ones and to ensure your affairs will be dealt with in accordance with your wishes.
The Legals Aspects Of Dementia
Dementia can lead to the loss of capacity, which can raise complex legal issues. Those suffering from the illness may become unable to make their own decisions in relation to their personal care and finances.
With this is mind, be realistic and plan ahead. A Lasting Power of Attorney gives you full control in deciding who you would like to make decisions on your behalf in the event that you ever lose capacity to make them yourself.
Giving someone that power may seem daunting, however, it is important to remember that an Attorney has a duty to act in your best interests. An Attorney’s role is to try to make the decision that you would have made had you been able to do so, even if that is, perhaps, not the same decision which they would have made.
A Lasting Power of Attorney must be made when you are fit and well enough to do so. Waiting until it is needed may mean that it is already too late. It should be viewed as an insurance policy, that will hopefully never need to be used, but is there to protect you if needed.
An up to date Will is also a sensible way to plan ahead. If you lose capacity, you will not be able to draw up or amend a Will and this is something an Attorney cannot do for you. If you do not have a Will, the Intestacy Rules will be implemented and this means that your estate may not always go to the people you would wish to have it. Having a valid, up to date Will also means that you choose who will deal with your affairs when you die.
If an individual loses capacity and does not have in place the legal documents described above, it is likely that, at some point, costly Court action will be required. With no Lasting Power of Attorney, your family may need to obtain a Deputyship Order which is both time-consuming and expensive. It also means that the Court will decide who is given authority to deal with your affairs and that is not always the person who you would like it to be.
How We Can Help
If you would like to discuss creating or updating a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney, we would be happy to assist you and provide further information. If you would like to discuss any of the above please contact me on freephone 0800 011 6666 or by email at email@example.com