Dementia and legal issues

Further to our blog yesterday about Lasting Powers of Attorney, it is vitally important that you and your family plan for the future and put the required legal documents in place so that your loved ones are protected, whilst you have the required mental capacity.

A Lasting Power of Attorney is a very important legal document for when you are alive, another important document, which comes into effect when you sadly pass away is your Last Will and Testament.

Making a Will is one of the first steps to ensuring that your loved ones have peace of mind if you were to sadly leave them. You must have the testamentary capacity, to make a will and a Solicitor can make a decision about this and can also take medical advice on the matter.

“Someone who has received a diagnosis of dementia may wish to make or change a will. They should seek legal advice from a solicitor as soon as possible.”

Research carried out by Will Aid in 2015 found that, out of the 51 million adults living in the UK, 27 million (53%) do not have a Will. These figures are only an approximation but it is worrying the number of people who do not have a Will and therefore leave their estate to be distributed as per the Intestacy Rules.

Having a Will in place allows you to decide on a number of situations and amongst other things, the following:-

• Who will administer your estate (Executors) and act as Trustee for any Trusts that you put in place for young children, for example.
• Guardianship for your children
• Cash legacies to individuals and charities
• Gift of a specific item of jewellery, amongst other things
• Decisions as to who will be your Residuary beneficiaries (those who will benefit from the pot of money when your assets have been encashed and all liabilities and costs settled)
• A Will can make succession much simpler if you own or partly own a business. Tax reliefs on the disposal of your business when you die may be available if you plan properly in your Will.
• If you have young children, it can be tax-efficient to set up a trust for them until they reach 18 or older. This can be done in your Will.

The above is only a small proportion of matters that you can address in your Will and a Will can address and protect a lot more than what you may think.

If you don’t make a Will, the law sets out the order of people, starting with your closest relative, who can apply to the court to administer your estate. This may include relatives you would not choose to administer your estate, or who are not up to the job. But if you make a Will you can decide who will administer your estate by appointing them as your ‘executors’. You can ensure you choose people you trust absolutely, and who are competent and willing to take the job on.

If your estate may be large enough to incur inheritance tax (IHT) when you die you, may be able to reduce that liability by making a Will, leaving more for your beneficiaries. The IHT thresholds are currently £325,000 per person.

If you want to take control and put in place a Will to protect your loved ones’ future, Ramsdens are here to help. Contact our experienced Private Client team today to book an appointment and let us assist you with preparing your Will.

Our solicitors are officially accredited as Dementia Friendly so we can provide extra help for people with Alzheimer’s Disease or similar conditions. Call us free on 0800 988 3650, we’re here to help or email

Ramsdens are supporting this year’s Dementia Awareness Week #DAW2016 and are members of the Dementia Action Alliance Group.