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21 Nov 2016

News

Wills & Probate

Dementia becomes the leading cause of death in the UK

This week it’s been reported that dementia is now the leading cause of death in England and Wales.  Unfortunately, it’s a trend that’s here to stay as the disease already affects 1 in 5 people over the 85 and by 2025 is set to affect more than 1 million people in the UK. 

It’s an uncomfortable reality you or a loved one will be affected by dementia one day.

There is research being carried out towards combatting the disease.  Just yesterday I heard about Sea Hero Quest, a collaboration between Alzheimer’s Research UK, Deutsche Telekom, game designers Glitchers and scientists.  The game has generated the equivalent of 9,400 years of lab-based research since its launch in May and is set to continue collecting data for 5 years.  Playing for just 3 minutes last night the game informed me that I had contributed 8 hours and I intend to contribute more, and you can too.  But be warned, it’s addictive!

You can also plan ahead.  You probably know you should write a will. But have you thought about lasting powers of attorney? These are documents you can prepare appointing someone you trust to help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf if you were unable to because you had lost mental capacity due to a disease like dementia.

There are two types of lasting power of attorney:

  • A lasting power of attorney for financial decisions. This type gives an attorney the power to make decisions about money and property for you, for example managing bank accounts, paying bills, collecting benefits or a pension and selling your home.  With your permission, a financial decisions lasting power of attorney can be used as soon as it’s registered.
  • A lasting power of attorney for health and care decisions.  This type of LPA to gives an attorney the power to make decisions about things like your daily routine such as washing, dressing, eating, medical care and moving into a care home.

Without a lasting power of attorney managing the affairs of someone who has lost capacity can be complex and expensive, involving applications to the Court of Protection for them to appoint a Deputy to manage your affairs on your behalf.

If you are worried about symptoms that are sometimes indicative of the onset of dementia, either for yourself or a loved one, there’s lots of help and support available.Charities such as Alzheimher’s Research UK mentioned above and Alzheimer’s Society  and Age UK all provide a wealth of useful information.

If you would like more information about making a power of attorney.  Or if you need assistance with making an application to the Court of Protection on behalf of someone who has already lost capacity please contact us.

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