Dementia has overtaken heart disease to become the most common cause of death in England and Wales. Researchers have recently revealed that by 2040, over 1.2 million people in England and Wales are predicted to have dementia. This is a significant rise from the 800,000 people today. Whilst there is more awareness and better diagnosis now than ever before, the increase is largely due to the fact that we are now living longer.
It is vital to get your affairs in order to make things easier for your family if you lose capacity.
With the rise in dementia, Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs) are becoming increasingly more crucial. Former Home Secretary Jack Straw explains: “We all know how important it is to plan for the future. Having a Lasting Power of Attorney in place should be as common and natural as making a Will.”
LPAs allow those you trust (usually close family) to assist you once you have lost capacity. There are two types of LPA; Property & Financial Affairs and Health & Welfare. You can choose who you wish to nominate to act as your attorney (or attorneys) for each LPA.
Once registered, these documents ensure that should you find yourself in a position where you are not sound of mind, there are people you trust able to act for you.
It is important to create your Will and LPAs whilst you still have mental capacity. Waiting until “nearer the time” can have disastrous consequences.
Determining whether you have mental capacity to give instructions for a Will and LPA can require specialist help. We can provide that service, if required.
Should you lose mental capacity without creating a Lasting Power of Attorney, your family may have to apply to the court of protection in order to obtain a deputyship. This can be an extremely long and costly process and can be stressful for your loved ones at an already difficult time.
Once you lose mental capacity, there are not really alternative options for creating a Will. Although a court might agree to a Statutory Will in certain special circumstances. Should you lose mental capacity without creating a valid Will, your estate will probably be distributed according to the laws of intestacy. Partners receive nothing under these laws and contrary to general understanding the surviving spouse may not receive everything. In fact, there can be tragic situations where the surviving spouse has to go to court to try and obtain funds from trusts that are holding funds for young children.
You might not be able to beat dementia but you can plan whilst you still have capacity. Don’t delay, act today! To arrange for a Casey & Associates Consultant to visit you to discuss Wills and LPAs, please click here.