“I have just been diagnosed with dementia; Is it too late to sign a Power of Attorney?”

To coincide with Dementia Action Week, we want to highlight the importance of having a Power of Attorney in place.

Our private client team are offering free, no obligation consultations this week to chat about your next steps in signing a Power of Attorney.

Dementia is something that, over time, can adversely affect the memory, language, and behaviour of an individual. Remembering things may become difficult, so much so that it interferes with a person’s daily life. Often, memory loss in the older generation is brushed off as a sign of “old age”, but could in fact be a symptom of dementia, and should be investigated accordingly.

Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be difficult, but it is important to seek both medical and legal advice, so that you and your loved ones can move forward with your lives.

You may be worried about what will happen to you and your finances if you become unable to look after yourself.

Speaking to a dedicated private client solicitor could help to put your mind at ease and organise your affairs in a way that suits you. Appointing a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney allows your loved one(s) to take care of you and your affairs if you become unable to do so as a result of a dementia diagnosis.

What is a Power of Attorney?

By appointing a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney, this allows someone, usually a relative or a solicitor, to manage your affairs while you are either temporarily or permanently unable to attend to matters such as money, property, health, and personal welfare. This can include dealing with your finances, consenting to medical treatment and signing documents on your behalf.

Why is signing a Power of Attorney important?

It’s impossible to foresee when someone may need a Power of Attorney.

If you have not set up a Power of Attorney and are rendered incapable of making decisions or caring for yourself, things can get complicated and stressful for you and your loved ones.

In the event that you haven’t appointed a Continuing and Welfare Power of Attorney, your loved one(s) will have to apply to the Sheriff Court for a Guardianship Intervention order. This process can take a long time to finalise and can be expensive.

By signing a Power of Attorney now, you reduce the need for your loved ones to apply to the Sheriff Court and save valuable time that can be spent ensuring you, your finances and your property are properly cared for.

Is it too late to sign a Power of Attorney?

If you have recently been diagnosed with dementia, you may be worried that it could be too late to start the legal process of signing a Power of Attorney. In an ideal situation, a person would have signed a Power of Attorney before any diagnosis. However, a diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily mean that a person cannot grant a Power of Attorney.

In order for a person to sign a Power of Attorney, they must have capacity and be able to understand the implications of the document. Capacity can come and go during a person’s lifetime and sometimes a solicitor may ask for a letter from the person’s doctor with their opinion on their ability to sign a Power of Attorney at a particular time.  Many people with early-stage dementia are able to sign a Power of Attorney.

What next?

If you have recently been diagnosed with dementia, it is important to take the next steps in planning for your future. At Watermans, our private client team are here to listen to your story, provide guidance and advise you on what your next steps are in the legal process.

With over 30 years’ experience in the legal industry, we pride ourselves on offering straightforward legal advice, so that you can concentrate on getting your affairs in order. After receiving a dementia diagnosis, planning for the future is important for your own peace of mind, and we want to make that process as uncomplicated as possible for you.

Contact our private client team using the form below to arrange an appointment.

Get in touch with us

Everything we do at Watermans is about getting you the resolution you need and making that process straightforward. Start the process by sending us your details below or calling us on 0131 555 7055

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Our wills, trusts and succession expert

“Planning for and talking about a time when you are no longer here is uncomfortable. I work hard to get the best plan in place for my clients, while understanding the sensitivities around talking about death. My clients often tell me that they have left our meeting feeling like a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.”

Kimberley Mackay, Head of Private Client