What legal issues will I face once my dementia progresses?

Elderly man looking confused at calendar

Dementia puts you on the clock. When it comes to dealing with complex legal processes like Lasting Power of Attorney, you may find yourself in need of a specialist mental health solicitor like us.

If you’ve just been diagnosed with dementia, legal issues that once you put aside for another day suddenly become urgent at the point where you may still be struggling to understand the illness and take it all in. After a diagnosis, the NHS site suggests dementia patients to get help and support, claim benefits, make a will and put your papers in order, among other useful tips.

When it comes to dealing with complex legal processes, our dementia solicitors specialising in elderly care can help. We can help you to navigate through the legal matters so you can have the bet arrangements in place. The discussion may include:

  • Creating a Will
  • Court of Protection
  • Advance Decisions
  • Lasting Power of Attorney
  • Statutory Wills

Creating a Will

The first legal issue you want to address is your Will. Writing a Will means that you can be certain your wishes are taken into account when you pass on, and in the event that you do lose the capacity to make decisions for yourself, your family doesn’t need to worry. A person with dementia can still make or change a will, if you can show that you understand what you’re doing. Wills do not expire, so once it’s made you no longer have to think about it.

While creating a Will is a relatively simple process, it must be written with perfect accuracy to ensure that it is valid. At Romain Coleman, our Wills and probate solicitors can help you make a Will that will hold up under in court.

Advance Directive

The second legal issue you should consider is whether or not to make an advance directive. This legal document, also known as a Living Will, specifies what actions should or should not be taken to keep you alive when you are unable to make the decision yourself due to illness. You can also forbid certain treatments or equipment be used to keep you alive under specific conditions: for example, you can forbid the use of life support machines if you contract an incurable degenerative disease, but allow them if the disease is curable.

Similar to a will, an advance directive does not expire. They are considered legally binding if they are ‘valid’ and ‘applicable’, and if they include the refusal of life-sustaining treatment then they must be signed with a witness present.

Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)

Lasting Power of Attorney, also known as an LPA, allows you to appoint an attorney to make decisions for you when you can’t.

There are two different types of LPA. The first type is an LPA for property and financial affairs, which lets someone else deal with your property, debts and financial affairs. The second type is an LPA for health and welfare, and will let someone else decide where you live, your day-to-day care and your lifestyle.

These can only be created while you have capacity and you do not have to create both types. Our team of LPA solicitors can help you decide which one is necessary, and guide you through the process.

If you would like to speak to a dementia solicitor about any or all of the legal issues in this article, you can call our team on 0208 520 4555. Alternatively, get in touch by filling out our Online Form.

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