As you get older and nearer to the age of writing a will, there are many possible unexpected challenges which life can throw at you. One that can see a devastating impact on people is dementia.
Dementia can affect someone’s cognitive functioning – thinking, remembering, and reasoning – to the point in which it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities.
Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions and their personalities may change.
This loss of memory makes writing a will a painful and confusing time. Often, sufferers of dementia will forget names, conversations and events so deciding who their possessions should go to when they pass away is an impossible process.
However, a dementia diagnosis doesn’t necessarily mean that you are unable to write a will.
But as symptoms get worse, it is beneficial to have someone you trust make decisions on your behalf.
The Mental Capacity Act is designed to protect and empower people who may lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care or treatment.
A doctor, social worker or other medical professional can help assess mental capacity.
For anyone to make a will, you must have ‘testamentary capacity.’ This is a legal term which means there are specific things you must understand when making a will:
- What making a will means and the effect that it will have
- What you own and how this might change, including what you may owe or to be owed in future
- Who might expect to be named in your will, and why you are choosing to either leave or not leave things to them
If a person has dementia, for their will to be valid, their dementia must not affect their ability to make decisions.
Lasting Power of Attorney
A lasting power of attorney is a legal document that allows you to choose a person (or people) you trust on your behalf if you’re no longer able to make your own decisions.
This person is referred to as your attorney and must be over 18 years old.
You may assume that if you’re married or in a civil partnership, your spouse will automatically be able to make decisions on your behalf and deal with your bank accounts and pensions, however, without an lPA, your spouse won’t be able to act on your behalf.
An LPA can only be used after it’s been registered at the Office of the Public Guardian.
If you don’t make an LPA and later become unable to make decisions for yourself, nobody will legally be able to make decisions for you.
Richard and Lewis are a reputable solicitors firm who can help you through the process in Ebbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent or anywhere in South West Wales. If you are looking for reliable wills and probate local solicitors near you, contact us today.