Looking at dementia through a legal lens
Every day almost 600 people in the UK sadly develop dementia.
Dementia is an illness that targets an individual’s brain and causes a shortened attention span, memory loss and confusion. Dementia is an umbrella term for different diseases which target the brain. For example, Alzheimer’s Disease is a principle cause of dementia.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for dementia and once an individual has the illness, they must live with it for the rest of their life. Many professionals argue that prevention is better than cure although many are researching to find new medical treatments and understand more about cognitive diseases.
The best way to try to prevent dementia is to lead a healthy balanced lifestyle with social interaction at its core. Social interaction ensures that your brain is regularly stimulated.
Despite trying our best to be as healthy and active as possible, the reality of dementia is that it is likely to directly or indirectly effect each of our lives at some point in time.
There are currently 850,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the UK and this number is set to increase. It is therefore important to ensure you get your affairs in order as much as possible, for peace of mind and to ensure your affairs will be dealt with as you wish.
Get your affairs in order and get a step ahead
From a legal perspective, dementia can lead to the loss of capacity. This means that those suffering from the illness may become unable to make decisions for themselves in regard to their personal care and finances.
To get a step ahead of what the future holds it is important to be realistic and plan accordingly. By drawing up a Power of Attorney this gives you full control in deciding who you would like to make decisions on your behalf should you ever lose capacity.
Signing over your decision-making power to someone else may seem daunting, however, it is crucial to note that your Attorney would only step should you lose capacity. Setting up a Power of Attorney gives you peace of mind that the person you have chosen as your Attorney(s) will make decisions for you in your best interest if called upon.
Arranging a Power of Attorney when you are fit and well is vital to getting a step ahead. This is because it is very straightforward to set up and should be viewed as an insurance policy, it is there to protect you if needed, however, hopefully it will never need to be used.
Ensuring you have an up to date Will in place is also a great way to get a step ahead. If you lose capacity, you will not be able to draw up a Will nor will you or your Attorney be able amend an existing will.
If an individual loses capacity and does not have the relevant legal documents as set out above, this will ultimately lead to Court action. Without a Power of Attorney your family may need to go to court to have a Guardianship Order or Intervention Order granted. Both orders are incredibly timely and expensive. It is also the at the discretion of the Sheriff Court as to whom is granted power to deal with your affairs and that is not always the person who you would like it to be.
We are here to help
We offer free initial consultations! If you would like to discuss creating a Will or Power of Attorney, we would be delighted to assist you and provide further information. Despite COVID-19, we are ready, willing and able to provide all services remotely. Video witnessing is also an option during lockdown due to new changes in legislation.