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Willans supports Dementia Action Week 2021

17 May 2021

We are pleased to help promote Dementia Action Week (formerly Dementia Awareness Week), which runs from 17-23 May this year.

This national campaign week is supported by the Alzheimer’s Society, which reports that:

  • there are over 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and that number is predicted to rise to over 1.6 million by 2040
  • This year, one person every three minutes will develop dementia
  • 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia
  • 70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems
  • there are over 42,000 people aged under 65 with dementia in the UK
  • more than 25,000 people from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups in the UK are affected by dementia.

Everybody starts to become more forgetful as they grow older. However, dementia is different. It is a brain disease which affects daily life and is progressive. It is not a natural part of ageing. Dementia often starts with memory problems, but can go on to affect other parts of the brain causing:

  • difficulty coping with everyday tasks
  • difficulty in communicating
  • changes in mood, judgment or personality.

Head of our wills, trusts and probate team Simon Cook explains: “There may come a time when a person suffering from dementia is no longer able to manage their affairs. This can cause enormous problems and costs for the family if planning for this eventuality has not taken place.

It would mean an application to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a deputy to look after the person’s affairs. This can be a lengthy and costly process. There will then be an ongoing involvement with the Court of Protection; annual accounts may have to be lodged and anytime a decision of substance (e.g. the sale of a house) has to be made, a court’s consent will be required.

“It is possible, as long as a person has capacity, to make a lasting power of attorney appointing a family member or trusted friend to step in and make financial and medical decisions if the time comes when that person is unable to do so themselves. In the long term this is much easier for the family to manage than having a deputy in place.”

Simon, who is also a Dementia Friend, adds: “You are never too young to set up a lasting power of attorney – you simply do not know what the future is going to bring.”

If you’d like to learn more, read our guide to creating an LPA or get in touch using the button below.

The theme of this year’s Dementia Action Week (17–23 May) is ‘Cure the Care System’. Alzheimer’s Society is campaigning for the government to improve funding and support for nearly a million people with dementia across the UK and their families. This is an issue that has only been made more urgent by the coronavirus pandemic, with the Alzheimer’s Society reporting that people with dementia account for 25% of coronavirus fatalities in the UK.

Find out more about how you can support Dementia Action Week, and join in the conversation on Twitter by using the hashtag #DAW2021.

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Simon Cook is a partner and leads our wills, trusts & probate team. He has 25 years’ experience in his field, specialising in complex estate and tax planning, lifetime trusts and vulnerable beneficiaries, and the creation and administration of personal injury trusts. Simon is also recommended in independent legal guides The Legal 500 and Chambers High Net Worth.

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