In support of Dementia Action Week 2022, our specialist Wills, Trusts and Probate team explores some of the practical issues to consider when supporting a loved one with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Action Week unites individuals, workplaces and communities to take action and improve the lives of people living with dementia. This year’s campaign runs from 16-22 May and the theme is diagnosis.
The period following a dementia diagnosis is an incredibly difficult time for everyone involved, but it is important to consider the following steps as early as possible in order to ensure the future wishes of the person living with dementia are correctly carried out. Getting these practical issues sorted early on, and while your loved one is still capable of making reasoned decisions, can ease the pressure later down the line. It can also help to combat the fear of not knowing if you are doing the right thing.
Making a Will creates certainty, reduces worry and gives you the peace of mind of knowing exactly how your money, property and possessions will be dealt with after your death. Encouraging your loved one to either create or update their Will while they are still able is the best way of guaranteeing that their wishes are followed.
Lasting power of attorney
A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) lets somebody living with dementia give permission in advance to a trusted person to make decisions on their behalf when they no longer have the capacity to decide for themselves. There are two types of LPAs. You can choose to make one type or both:
- Health and welfare – the trusted person can make decisions on medical care and on welfare matters, such as living arrangements.
- Property and financial – the trusted person can make decisions on managing financial affairs.
Ideally, an LPA should be put in place while a person living with dementia can still make decisions. However, in cases where a person has already lost the capacity to make an LPA, as a loved one or trusted friend you can make a request to the Court of Protection for the ability to carry out decisions on their behalf. This is called deputyship. As with LPAs, there are two types of deputyships:
- Personal welfare – the deputy can make decisions about medical treatment and care.
- Property and financial – the deputy can take care of a person’s financial affairs.
Setting up a trust is a practical step to take to ensure a person living with dementia has control over the future of their financial assets, like property or savings, while they are still able. There are a number of different types of trusts and ways of arranging them. Consulting a solicitor as early as possible following a diagnosis is the best way to be certain that everything is in order and as the person living with dementia wishes.
Speak to our team
A number of our Bray & Bray solicitors are Dementia Friends and Dementia Friends Champions. They are specially trained on how best to provide advice about ways in which people can make a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia in their own local communities. We also understand the challenges faced when starting a conversation with someone living with dementia, and our aim is to provide you with an understanding and transparent service.
For support with any of the issues outlined above, please call 0116 254 8871 and our specialist wills, trusts and probate solicitors will be happy to help.
You can also contact the Alzheimer’s Society directly for information and support on 0116 231 1111, or read their practical guide on caring for a person with dementia here.