September is World Alzheimer’s Month this year with 21st September being World Alzheimer’s Day. To raise awareness of Alzheimer’s Disease, many people are hosting events around the world. These include Alzheimer’s Cafes (Leicester Dementia Cafe, please click this link or telephone 0116 2311111), doing Memory Walks or hosting social, entertainment or sports events to raise fund.
The Wills and Probate Team have decided to join in by wearing something red on the 21st September. Please visit our facebook page to see the photos of the team in red!
The Alzheimer’s Society confirms that by the end of this year there will be 850,000 people with dementia in the UK. Of that figure, there are 40,000 younger people with dementia. It is believed that by 2025 there will be 1 million people with dementia in the UK.
Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common cause of dementia. The word “dementia” is used to describe different brain disorders that affect a person’s ability to remember and think. It also affects a person’s behaviour and emotion. From a legal point of view, dementia affects a person’s capacity to provide a solicitor or other organisation with instructions.
You may be thinking why is it important that a person no longer has capacity to provide a solicitor or other organisation with instructions. For ease of reference, I’m going to call this person John.
John may need to sell his home to pay for care home fees. A solicitor would not be able to accept John’s instructions to sell the property if he did not have capacity. Likewise John would need to use his bank account. Should the bank be aware that John is lacking in capacity, they will freeze the account in order to ensure that there is no possibility of financial abuse. John may also not have capacity to make a Will or appoint a person to help look after his affairs during his lifetime.
The next question you may have is what happens next? The family or carers of John would need to instruct a solicitor to have them appointed as deputies of John’s affairs. This means that the family or carers would apply to the Court of Protection to ask that a Judge appoint them to be the people who can access John’s bank accounts and sell his property. However, this application to the Court can be costly, time consuming and quite scary for John and his friends and family. And, often most importantly to John, he can no longer choose who he trusts to access his bank accounts and sell his property. Instead, it is the decision of a Judge and of course, John’s decision may have been different to that of the Judge.
If a family member or friend of yours, such as John, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or starting to show signs of forgetfulness, they should contact us to ensure that their affairs are put in order prior to them losing capacity. This will enable John to decide who he would like to deal with his affairs both during his lifetime when he isn’t able to do so by completing a Lasting Power of Attorney and after his death by doing a Will. A Lasting Power of Attorney is far less expensive than an application to the Court of Protection and can be put in place ready for use much more quickly.
We are also proud that our Head of Wills and Probate Team, Samantha Downs, is a Full Accredited Member of Solicitors for the Elderly . This is an independent, national organisation of lawyers who specialise in advice for older and vulnerable people and their families and carers. Part of the organisation’s philosophy is to focus on the care of our clients and their family and carers. It enables you to know that Samantha’s client care skills are just as important as her legal knowledge and that each client will be looked after individually.
For more information about Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or Deputyship applications, then please contact any member of the Wills and Probate Team on 0116 2628596.
For more information about Alzheimer’s Disease or for help and support, please visit the Alzheimer’s Society website or telephone 0300 222 11 22.
For more information about World Alzheimer’s Month and Day, please