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    21 September 2020

    World Alzheimer’s Month: Let’s talk about Dementia

    World Alzheimer’s Day takes place on 21st September, and is part of World Alzheimer’s Month. This year the aim is to raise awareness, educate and encourage support to those who have been diagnosed with dementia and urge everyone to join in the conversation by becoming a Dementia Friend.

    According to the Alzheimer’s Society, dementia is one of the biggest challenges we face, with nearly 50 million people living with dementia worldwide Steeles Law is passionate about highlighting the importance of talking about dementia. In January of this year, colleagues updated their training and became Dementia Friends with the aim of offering a more supportive and inclusive service to the local community.  Through this opportunity the team were able to learn more about dementia, a condition that affects many of us and our families, we have gained the necessary tools to better assist all who use our services.

    What does being a Dementia Friend mean to us?

    We asked our team what being a Dementia Friend means to them, see our article supporting Dementia Action week 2020.

    Can I access legal services if I have been diagnosed with Dementia?

    The best advice when it comes to Lasting Powers of Attorneys (LPAs) is to act early and get them in place long before your capacity may be affected.

    It is not uncommon for our team to act for families that have members in the early stages of dementia. We urge families to have conversations about plans for later life before it’s too late. Once the disease has progressed too far, it becomes too late to take advice and in these cases sadly we were not able to complete a lasting power of attorney.

    For more information, see our previous article Can I make a Lasting Powers of Attorney if I have Dementia?

    What is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) and why are they so important?

    An LPA is a legal document which allows you to appoint someone who you trust, to make decisions in relation to your property and financial affairs and/or health and welfare should you become incapable of making decisions for yourself.

    There are two types of Lasting Powers of Attorney (LPA) and we recommend you make both types.

    • A Property and Financial Affairs LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about your property and finances.
    • A Health and Welfare LPA allows your attorney to make decisions about your personal welfare.

    We recommend that all clients consider making an LPA, as no one has an automatic right to make decisions on someone’s behalf. When it comes to your finances, many people believe their spouse, civil partner or “next of kin” can make decisions but this is not the case and even if you make somebody a signatory on your account, this authority will end automatically if you lose capacity. Even if you have joint accounts with somebody, the joint account holder has no authority to make sole decisions on the account and if you lose capacity these accounts can be frozen by the banks.

    If it is too late to make an LPA, we would probably advise the family to make an application to the Court of Protection to appoint a Deputy.

    Unfortunately the application process is incredibly lengthy and expensive and can take several months to complete.

    We are happy to answer any questions you may have regarding making a Lasting Powers of Attorney if you or a family member has been diagnosed with Dementia, please contact our dedicated Wills, Trusts and Probate team by calling 01379 652141 or by emailing probate@steeleslaw.co.uk.

    If you need Dementia support Alzheimer’s Society’s personalised support service, means you’re only one click or call away from the dementia support you need.

    *The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

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