Many of you will have seen recently in the news that actor Bruce Willis has been diagnosed with dementia with his close family and friends trying to raise the public profile of the disease.
There are over 200 sub-types of dementia. The most common are Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia. By 2025, it’s estimated that over one million people in the UK will have a diagnosis of dementia – and almost all of us will know someone living with the condition.*
With the number of dementia sufferers rising, it is now more important than ever to ensure that you plan ahead and that you have your affairs in order. It may come to a stage when you do not have the capacity to do this.
Lasting Powers of Attorney
Lasting Powers of Attorney are documents that adults can put in place to appoint family, friends or professionals to act as attorneys on their behalf. There are two types of powers of attorney; property & finances and health & welfare. The attorneys that you appoint can make decisions when you are unable to do so whether it is because of an illness such as dementia or on a temporary basis following loss of consciousness.
A lasting power of attorney cannot be made by a minor and if there are concerns surrounding capacity, a deputyship application would need to be made (see below).
In circumstances where an adult does not have a power of attorney or where a minor lacks capacity, an application will need to be made by your family, friends or a professional to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship Order to appoint someone to act as a Deputy. The application process can be lengthy and sometimes complicated depending on the assets owned.
Just as it is important to ensure that someone is appointed to manage your affairs during your lifetime, it is also important to ensure that you have a Will to allow your affairs and wishes to be dealt with on your death. On death, any power of attorney in place will end and then the Will takes precedence allowing your appointed executors to act. You are unable to make a Will when you have lost capacity.
It is also worth mentioning that if a family member has been diagnosed with dementia and is appointed as an executor or beneficiary under your Will, it would be appropriate to review your Will.
If you or a family member receive a diagnosis of Dementia, it can be an extremely upsetting and a frightening time. Whilst you may feel you have many issues to consider, it is important that you add reviewing your documents and affairs on your list.
Our friendly life planning team are all Dementia Friends and are happy to help and gently talk through steps that need to be taken to ensure that everything is in place for you whether it be preparing the documents for you or reviewing existing documents with you to give you that peace of mind.
*information taken from www.dementiauk.org website