Wills and Dementia

20 January 2021

There are almost 50 million people living with dementia worldwide. As Dementia Friends we are proud to raise awareness of the condition and to share what we can do to support those affected. 

Often people think that it is too late to make a Will if they have been diagnosed with dementia, however this is not necessarily the case. A person with dementia can still make or change a Will and choose whom their money and possessions should go to after they die.

The Wills Act 1873 states that an individual making a Will must have ‘testamentary capacity’, the definition of which is being a ‘soundness of mind, memory and understanding’. If a person has dementia, then for their Will to be valid, their dementia must not affect their ability to make decisions about their Will.  This means that they understand the following:

• The nature of a Will and its true effect;

• The extent of their property; does the individual know his/her assets’ worth;

• The moral claims they ought to consider; who might be expecting to be named in their Will, and why are they choosing to leave or not to leave things to them?

As long as the individual understands what they are doing and can make those decisions, then they can make a Will. However, one must remember that anyone’s Will can be disputed when it comes to be read.

There are though steps which can be taken to avoid future complications or doubts relating to your Will. The Courts follow a Golden Rule that if someone has dementia, or any condition that might affect their decision-making, memory or understanding, then it is advisable to get medical evidence to prove that they are able to make the Will and that they understand the process fully. As a Dementia Friends trained team, we can assist with this, we are able to assess each individual’s situation, and ensure that you are looked after carefully during the process of making a Will. 

Having a Will in place will ensure that your wishes are respected after your death and that your assets go to the people or organisations that you wish them to go to. 

If someone has Dementia or any other condition, it is also a good idea to set up a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). LPAs ensure that a person or persons nominated by you will have the authority to make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so. Click here to read about protecting your finances with Lasting Powers of Attorney

If you would like a free initial consultation to discuss writing or reviewing your Will with one of our specialist team, contact us on 01244 356 789 or email info@cullimoredutton.co.uk

Please note: This is not legal advice; it is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.