What to do After a Dementia Diagnosis


What to do After a Dementia Diagnosis

This week (13–19 May 2024) is Dementia Action Week, an annual national campaign by the Alzheimer’s Society to raise awareness of dementia.

Currently, there are more than 944,000 people in the UK living with dementia, with that number expected to grow to around 1.6 million by 2040, as an ageing population fuels a rise in dementia cases.

However, one in three people in the UK living with dementia do not have a diagnosis.

The focus of this year’s Dementia Action Week campaign is to bring the UK together to take action on improving dementia diagnosis rates.

A diagnosis is vital to give people access to the care, treatment and support they desperately need, with 91% of people affected by dementia saying there are benefits to getting a diagnosis.

If you have dementia, being diagnosed at an earlier stage gives you a chance to adjust and can also help you plan for the future.

Putting in place certain legal documents will protect you and your loved ones and give you valuable peace of mind.

Whether or not you are able to manage your own legal affairs after receiving a dementia diagnosis depends on whether you have the necessary ‘testamentary capacity’. This means that as long as the person living with dementia can understand what they are doing, and appreciate the consequences of their actions, they should be able to take part in estate planning.

However, any question marks over whether you have the legal capacity necessary to execute legal documents could lead to complications at a later stage, so specialist legal advice from an experienced solicitor is vital.

To show our support for the campaign, in this blog our Elderly Client Solicitors look at the legal documents you should make if you receive a dementia diagnosis.

  1. Will.

A Will is a written legal document that sets out what you want to happen to your assets, such as money, property and other possessions, when you die.

Making a Will ensures:

  • You choose your beneficiaries. Setting out your intentions in a Will means you can decide who gets what and how much.
  • You can make arrangements for any children. You can state who you want to appoint as guardians for any children. If you die without a Will, the courts will decide.
  • Your heirs can access your assets quicker and more easily.
  • You can plan to mitigate inheritance tax and other taxes on your estate.

Dying without a Will means you die ‘intestate’, which can cause problems for your loved ones and mean your assets don’t necessarily pass to the people you want to benefit from them.

Find out more about Wills here.

  1. Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPAs).

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is an important legal document that should be a vital part of everyone’s estate planning.

LPAs help individuals safeguard their futures by appointing someone they trust to make certain decisions for them should they lose the capacity to make those decisions themselves.

There are two main types of LPA:

  • Property and financial affairs. This gives an attorney the power to make decisions about your property and finances, including paying bills, selling your home, collecting a pension, or managing a bank or building society account.
  • Health and welfare. This LPA enables an attorney to make decisions involving your health and welfare, such as about your medical care, moving into a care home and your daily routine.

As dementia is a progressive disease with symptoms that get worse, it is crucial to see a solicitor as soon as possible following a diagnosis, as it is likely to become more difficult for someone with dementia to take control of their affairs as time goes on.

Bookers & Bolton is a dementia-friendly business. Our head of Private Client, Sophie West, is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and an accredited member of the Association of Lifetime Lawyers (formerly Solicitors for the Elderly).

Sophie and the rest of the elderly client team provide specialist advice and support to people living with dementia and their families.

Our office in Alton, Hampshire, is wheelchair accessible with nearby parking. We can also visit our elderly and vulnerable clients in their homes where appropriate and by arrangement.

If you have a loved one living with dementia, or your family has recently received a dementia diagnosis and isn’t sure what to do next, speak to one of our friendly solicitors.

To speak to one of our experienced team, contact us on 01420 82881, email us at enquiries@bookersandbolton.co.uk or make an online enquiry here.

  1. Advance Decision (Living Will).

An Advance Decision (also known as a Living Will or Advance Statement) is a legal document that allows you to choose and explain what medical treatment you want or and don’t want in the future.

For it to be legally binding, it must meet certain requirements and comply with the Mental Capacity Act.

Elderly Client Solicitors Near Me

At Bookers & Bolton, we provide a wide range of specialist legal services for elderly and vulnerable people, children, their relatives, and carers.

Issues affecting older and vulnerable clients can be complex and varied, and our private client lawyers in Alton, Hampshire can assist and advise in several areas, including:

  • Wills.
  • Lasting Powers of Attorney.
  • Court of Protection (including Deputyship, Gifting and Statutory Will Applications).
  • Ongoing support and advice for Attorneys and Deputies.
  • Mental Capacity Issues.
  • Residential Care Issues.
  • Property Issues.
  • Funding in Care.
  • Local Authority Assessments for Care.
  • Continuing Care and NHS Care Home Funding.
  • Financial Abuse.
  • Safeguarding.
  • Vulnerable Adults and Children.

Our elderly and vulnerable client lawyers will take the time to understand your situation, ensuring you understand and are comfortable with our advice.

Get In Touch

To speak to one of our experienced team members near you, contact us on 01420 82881, email us at enquiries@bookersandbolton.co.uk or make an online enquiry here.