This week between 15th and 21st May is National Dementia Awareness Week to raise awareness for the disease. Over 800,000 people are diagnosed with and are living with dementia in the UK.
A main worry for people is that if they are diagnosed with it then they won’t be able to make any decisions for themselves. However, just because someone has been diagnosed with dementia, it doesn’t mean that they have immediately lost 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.
Medical evidence can be obtained 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 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, it is advisable that you seek independent specialist advice on the following matters:
- Will – one of the requirements of a valid will is that the testator (the person making the will) is fully aware that they are making a will. A will cannot be drafted or amended if the testator has lost capacity and so it is crucial that this is looked at regularly. Read here for our top 10 tips to make a will
- Lasting Powers of Attorney – these cannot be entered into once a person has lost capacity but unlike general powers of attorney, these remain in force once capacity has been lost if they have been put in place beforehand. 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 without applying 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. If you have any queries about care home funding options or if you wish to challenge a decision made by the local authority we can help.
Levi Solicitors are part of the Dementia Action Alliance to ensure that all staff are aware of the symptoms and effect of dementia and how best to support clients who are either suffering from dementia or are caring for someone with it.
We act quickly when clients need to make a will or a lasting power of attorney and are able to provide home visits to work around the client’s needs. If you would like to speak to one of our specialists please give us a call on 0113 244 9931.