15 – 21 May is Dementia Action Week to raise awareness for the disease. Over 944,000 people are diagnosed with and are living with dementia in the UK.
Many people worry about whether they will be able to make decisions for themselves if they are diagnosed. However, just because someone has been diagnosed with dementia, it doesn’t mean that they will immediately lose capacity to make decisions. There are many different types of dementia which have different prognoses. Whether or not someone has mental capacity to make decisions can vary drastically from person to person.
We can obtain medical evidence on the existence of capacity to assist with the process. It is possible for people to be able to make important decisions following diagnosis and it would be advisable to put things into place before any later deterioration which may result in a loss of capacity.
| What can you do if you are diagnosed with dementia?
If you or one of your loved ones have been diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and you are concerned that your / their affairs are not in order, we advise you seek specialist advice on the following:
- Will – for a will to be valid, the person making the will must be fully aware of what they are doing. You cannot draft or amend a will if you have lost capacity. So it is crucial that you look at this regularly. Read here for our top 10 reasons to make a will
- Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) – you cannot enter into an LPA if you have lost capacity. But, unlike general powers of attorney, your LPAs remain valid if you later lose capacity. If someone loses capacity and they haven’t got an LPA in place then their family will be unable to deal with their property and financial affairs. In these cases, the family would have to apply to the Court of Protection for a deputyship order.
- Care Home Fees – people with dementia may often end up requiring full time care either in their home or in a care home. We can provide specialist advice on planning for your care home fees. For example ensuring that we structure your will to protect your loved ones’ inheritance. We can also help with queries about care home funding options. Or even challenges to decisions made by the local authority.
| Dementia Friendly business
Levi Solicitors are part of the Dementia Action Alliance. Our team are all Dementia Friends. We want to ensure that all staff are aware of the symptoms and effect of dementia and how best to support clients who are either living with dementia or are caring for someone who is. We are also proud members of Age Friendly Leeds and Leeds Dementia Action Alliance; working to help make Leeds the best city to grow old in.