Personal Law

As Dementia Awareness week continues you will hopefully have already read blogs on this subject by my colleagues Alan Eccles and Karen Phillips. Alan Eccles looked at some aspects of powers of attorney and Karen concentrated on some lessons learned from the Alzheimer’s Scotland Conference on Monday.

Dementia is a subject close to my heart both professionally and personally.

It is hard to describe to others who have not had to deal with a relative who has suffered from dementia what emotions are involved – the frustration of not being able to obtain information, the emotional exhaustion at dealing with the practical and family issues, and the heartbreak of watching someone you love slowly no longer recognise who you are.

Those of you who were at our seminar last month which focused on a number of aspects of care, will hopefully have picked up some practical tips from this.

In terms of the legal aspects the key, as always, is to plan ahead.

However, this is not always easy as it is difficult to broach these subjects with loved ones. It is often difficult enough for individuals to plan ahead for death and sometimes it can be even more challenging to think ahead to a time when we may still be alive but not able to deal with our own affairs.

It is important to discuss with loved ones whether they have the appropriate will provisions in place.

You should be asking them whether they have a will in place and indeed whether it is up to date with their current wishes. It may all too soon be too late to change the will if it is not up to date. Having a will is extremely important in terms of stating what you want to happen to your assets. In addition, there can also be other important planning provisions put in place such as for tax and future care home costs.

It is also extremely important to plan early to get a power of attorney in place.

A power of attorney provides for a situation during your lifetime where you are no longer yourself able to make decisions.

Again, this can be a very difficult subject to raise with loved ones but if it is in place it can save a huge amount of worry, expense and emotional angst. If a power of attorney is not in place and you do lose capacity to deal with your affairs then the alternative may well be an application to the court to apply for a guardianship order. This is expensive and time consuming.

We recommend to all of our clients that they have a power of attorney in place, as it allows you a choice as to who should deal with your affairs on your behalf, rather than leaving this up to the court to decide.

It is important that this is done well in advance as again the time where a loved one no longer has capacity to make those decisions can come all too quickly.

Brodies and the care sector

Brodies can help individuals, families, public bodies, care providers and charities with the legal issues associated with care, incapacity and health. 

For individuals and families, please do get in touch with team members based across the country whether that is your usual Brodies contact or any of the following:

Mark Stewart- or 01224 392 282

Susanne Beveridge– or 0131 656 0285

Karen Phillips- or 0131 656 0285

Alan Eccles- or 0141 245 6255  

Lindsay Watson – or 0141 245 6217 

Brodies provides powers of attorney connected to the Start the Conversation campaign and is the only firm to resource this with power of attorney and estate planning specialists permanently based on each of Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. 

For care providers, contact Peter Kelly – or 0141 245 6259

Susanne Batchelor
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