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Willans supports Dementia Awareness Week

16 May 2016

Willans is helping to promote Dementia Awareness Week running from 15 May – 21 May.

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

  • there are over 850,000 people in the UK with dementia and that number is predicted to rise to over 1 million by 2025
  • in 2016 225,000 people will develop dementia – that is one every three minutes
  • 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 40,000 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.

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 is a lengthy process and is costly. 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 (eg 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.

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.

Feel free to contact the wills, probate and trusts department if you would like help or have any questions.

Simon joined us in 2014 having moved from QualitySolicitors Thomson & Bancks where he headed their private client department, and now leads our wills, trusts and probate team. He deals with all aspects of private client work such as trusts (including personal injury trusts), wills, powers of attorney, Court of Protection and estate planning and administration. Simon is also a member of the Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners and the Law Society Private Client Section. 

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Simon Cook LLB (Hons), TEP
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