During September, World Alzheimer’s Month, a Chesterfield law firm wants to help raise awareness of the life changing disease, helping families to put plans in place now for their future.
When life is going well, we might not want to pause to think about the challenging times that could lie ahead, and writing a will or making arrangements for someone to handle our affairs can be the very last thing on our mind.
Yet there’s no hiding from the fact that one person is diagnosed with dementia every three minutes. That means for many of us, making important decisions and arranging our finances could one day become simply too challenging.
According to research from Alzheimer’s Society, carers of dementia patients often find themselves struggling through a complex system as they try to make decisions and plan for loved one’s care.
The result can be devastating for carers who, already struggling as they watch loved one’s condition deteriorate, may find their hands tied when it comes to making important decisions about their care, welfare and finances.
Plan ahead, just in case
While little can be done to prevent a dementia diagnosis – or any condition that results in a loss of mental capacity - it is possible to lay down plans to help our loved ones should the worst occur.
Organising Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) – which means you choose a person (or persons) to act for you if you are no longer able to make your own choices - brings peace of mind that our wishes for our future care will be followed.
Many people assume that because they are married or in a civil partnership, their spouse will automatically be able to deal with their finances and make decisions about their care.
However, without an LPA, their hands are tied and they can’t act.
An LPA brings peace of mind that whatever is ahead, your affairs will be handled by people you trust and you have your best interests at heart.
There are two types of LPA: property and financial affairs, and health and wellbeing.
Why does it matter?
If you don’t make an LPA and become unable to make decisions for yourself, your loved ones may end up having to apply to the Court of Protection for a Deputyship, giving them the right to handle your affairs.
This is a lengthy and expensive process and they might be unable to pay your bills or make important decisions regarding your care until is resolved.
Plan ahead for the inevitable
Despite the inevitability of death, research has shown that just one third of UK adults has a will, and only 21 per cent of the over-65s with children has a will and LPA in place.
It means that for many, saying goodbye to a loved one could lead to a host of legal wrangles, disputes and upset.
Making a will or arranging and LPA doesn’t take long, it can cost less than you think and will mean less upset and heartache for the people who matter most.
Take action now
Life can change in an instant, so making plans now makes sense.
It can be easier than you think to arrange your will or LPA. Legal firm Banner Jones has LPA and will experts at their offices in Sheffield, Chesterfield, Dronfield, and Mansfield, who can advise on the best course of action for your circumstances.
The firm also offers helpful ‘later life’ consultations, where you can chat through all the options, including the different types of wills and even get pension advice from Banner Jones wealth management team.
By acting now, you could save loved ones extra heartache and grief.
Banner Jones offers a range of legal services including the Later Life Consultation, Lasting Power of Attorney and wills. Visit Banner Jones for more details.