Coming to terms with a diagnosis of Dementia can be very distressing for all concerned. There is a lot to think about, and it can be confusing and overbearing. Some of the legal questions that I have been asked (as a Solicitor), include:
1. Can I still make a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney ('LPA')? The answer is often 'yes', but we may need a letter from your doctor to confirm your capacity. The sooner you make your Will and LPA, the better.
2. Should my spouse leave their estate to me in their Will? That is a decision for your spouse to make, but they may consider leaving their estate (or cash, share of a property etc) into a trust for your benefit. Therefore, if you are not able to manage your affairs or are in care in the future, part of the estate can be controlled by other relatives, and you may still benefit from the trust.
3. Should I give away my home to avoid future care fees? The answer to this is usually 'no' as to do so could be considered a deprivation of capital by the Local Authority if you do go into care. The Local Authority would investigate a gift of this nature, if they feel it has been made to avoid the payment of care fees.
4. Will I have to go into a care home? The short answer is that no one really knows, It all depends upon your health and social needs. Often, with the right care package, you can remain in your home for as long as possible. Your concerns should be addressed with your doctor and social worker,
5. Will I have to pay for my care? If you have over £23.250 in assets, it is likely that you will have to fully fund your care.
6. Can the NHS fund my care? In certain circumstances, the NHS may provide full funding in the form of NHS continuing care. However, this depends upon your needs, and is often difficult to obtain.
7. Can someone make decisions for me, if I become incapable of making decisions? 'Yes', if you have a Power of Attorney for Property and Financial Affairs and a Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare - see our website for further information. Alternatively, you may have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place, this applies for property and finances only.
8. Are there any support groups available? 'Yes', there are many. National charities such as Age UK www.ageuk.org.uk and the Alzheimer's Society www.alzheimers.org.uk. There are also local groups such as Silverline Memories www.silverlinememories.com. The support can be a tremendous help.
The above list isn't exhaustive, just an example of some of the questions you may have, Please do not hesitate to contact Emma Pringle on 01661 610 309 or visit our website www.mywillmychoice.co.uk for further information, We offer free home visits and evening and weekend appointments in Tyne and Wear and Northumberland.
Emma is highly recommended will deal with your legal needs sensitively.