Alzheimer’s disease and dementia knocked heart disease off the top of the list for main causes of death in England and Wales for the first time. Here at Finance North Estate Planning Services we offer advice on planning for the future.
In 2015, 61,686 out of a total of 529,655 deaths registered in England and Wales were attributable to dementia, according to a report just published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – that’s 11.6%. The mortality rate for dementia has more than doubled since 2010 and the Alzheimer’s Society estimates that one million people will have the condition in the UK by 2025.
This statistic raises important questions for families around writing wills. When a person is diagnosed with dementia, it’s a good idea to get their legal and financial affairs in order and give a friend or relative lasting power of attorney. This helps in the future in case there is a point when the dementia sufferer can’t make decisions for themselves.
Indeed, the Alzheimer’s Society recommends this in its ‘Planning Ahead’ guidebook for people with dementia: “Once you have had a chance to adjust to your diagnosis, take time to ensure your affairs are in order.
It may become more difficult for you to make decision or choices about financial or legal matters as time goes on. Where possible, make these plans as early as you can with a trusted friend, family member or professional (choose someone who is likely to be able to support you as time goes on).”
One of the most important aspects of forward planning for everyone, particularly if dementia runs in the family is to investigate making a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). An LPA enables someone to choose who they want to make decisions for them, should they become unable. Those decisions could be around their financial and property concerns or their health and welfare. This may also cover deciding whether they should go into a care home.
If a person with dementia hasn’t made an LPA and loses the ability to make decisions, the situation for loved ones can be complicated – and distressing. In the case of financial decisions, for example, only someone with a formal legal power can completely manage another person’s affairs. So if a dementia sufferer hasn’t made an LPA, their loved ones will need to apply to the Court of Protection to become their deputy in order to manage finances on their behalf. It’s doable but it can be stressful and time consuming.
There are two separate categories of LPA – one around finances and another around health and care. Each has to be set up individually, and registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.
Lots of people use professionals to help navigate LPA forms as they are binding legal documents, and your wishes or those of your loved ones have to be drafted carefully.
Here at Finance North Estate Planning Services we can help you write your LPA so give us a call now on 0161 771 2056 or complete the form below for advice on ensuring that, as the number of people suffering with dementia rises, you and your loved ones know you’re protected should decision making become difficult.
Finance North Estate Planning Services
Offices in Cheshire & Staffordshire