There have been a worrying number of headlines recently regarding Dementia statistics. It is thought that around 800,000 people are currently living with Dementia in Britain, according to the new research based on the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, which has followed 18,000 people in their 50s since 2002. It is also forecasted that this number will rise substantially to 1.2 million by 2040.
With a growing number of our society suffering from Dementia one of the questions often asked of us, is how can clients plan for the increasingly likely prospect, that they, or a loved one will be living with, or caring for someone with, Dementia in the future. Often the main concerns are how family members will arrange for the care needed to be put in place and also how to access funds to pay for the costs of that care.
Sometimes, a person suffering with Dementia has already made an Enduring Power of Attorney (pre 1st October 2007) or a Lasting Power of Attorney, which allows someone else to step in and manage their affairs if needed. However, sadly many people, for whatever reason, have never put a Power of Attorney in place. Accordingly, the next step is to see whether the person with Dementia still has sufficient mental capacity to make a Lasting Power of Attorney.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney; these can only be made whilst a person still retains mental capacity. There is a Lasting Power of Attorney for Property and Affairs which allows a person to authorise, a person or persons of their choosing, to manage their finances should they become physically or mentally incapable of managing them themselves. This may include paying their bills, investing money on their behalf, or even selling their home to fund care if this becomes necessary. This type of Lasting Power of Attorney can be used as soon as it has been registered. There is also a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare decisions. This again allows a person to authorise, a person or persons to make decisions regarding their health and welfare. This can often include making decisions about their medical treatment or the type of care home they receive, as well as day to day issues such as diet, clothing etc. This type of Lasting Power of Attorney can only be used when the person has lost their mental capacity.
If someone has sadly lost capacity before getting their affairs in order, then they will no longer be able to prepare a Lasting Power of Attorney. In this situation the Court of Protection will then need to be involved to appoint a Deputy to assist the person, which is a much more longwinded and costly process.
Richard Neea, Head of Wills, Tax and Probate at Enoch Evans LLP comments that ‘Dementia and similar illnesses are undeniably on the rise and it is therefore now, as important as preparing a Will, for all members of our society to plan for the possibility that they may lose the ability to make decisions for themselves at some point in lifetime. This is usually dealt with by preparing Lasting Powers of Attorney, which if prepared in advance of a health issue, will at least mean that a person’s affairs can be managed straight away for them, relieving some of the burden on family members at a very stressful and distressing time.’
Enoch Evans LLP’s Wills, Tax and Probate team contains specialist Lawyers who are experts at advising on both Lasting Powers of Attorney and Court of Protection Applications. Enoch Evans LLP has also recently launched ‘Care Solutions for the Elderly’, which allows the Firm to offer dedicated support to co-ordinate all aspects of elderly care needs for clients. Please visit http://www.enochevans.co.uk/full-home/for-you/wills-tax-probate/long-term-care/ to find out more about this or contact a member of the Wills, Tax and Probate team if you are worried about Dementia yourself or have a family member suffering from Dementia.