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Mental Capacity: Are you leaving it too late?

View profile for Lisa Carter
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We live in a society where health and wellness are “on trend”. People of all ages are doing more to look after their bodies; they are heading down to the gym and they are eating whatever “superfood” the media is suggesting. In addition to maintaining our bodies, there is an increasing awareness about mental health but are we really doing enough?  Is this overemphasis on our bodies meaning we are still neglecting our brains?

Our brains help make us who we are. They control everything that we think, feel, say and do. They store our memories. Unfortunately, just like any other part of our body, the brain can sometimes become ill. The most likely outcome of this is that the illness will stop our brains working properly and the most common illness that we see in society today is dementia. According to the Alzheimer's Society website;

  • There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051.
  • 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes.
  • 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia.
  • 70 per cent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems.
  • There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK. (Figures courtesy of https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/)

Other than thinking these stats are alarming, you might be asking what this has to do with Gepp & Sons, and more precisely our Private Client team?

The question about mental capacity is a difficult one that any Private Client team can face on weekly basis.  Whether advising on Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney or wider estate planning, we constantly need to be aware of the tests required for capacity and consider these when taking instructions from our clients.

The simple truth is that if a person lacks the requisite mental capacity they would not be able to execute a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney. I speak to a large number of people who tell me that “they don't need to worry about it now” or they “don't need one yet” and my response to them is that this is exactly the time you need to be considering it.

If you leave it too long you run the risk of losing capacity before you are able to put in place a Will or Lasting Power of Attorney.

My advice? Don’t leave it too late. Make arrangements for a Will and Lasting Power of Attorney before the question of capacity can rear its head. This way you can put in place the necessary provisions to not only protect yourself in later life, but also ensure that those whom you want to benefit from your estate do. This in turn could save you and your loved ones unnecessary stress, upset and expense.

The Private Client team at Gepp and Sons would be very happy to assist you in making the appropriate provisions, before it's too late. If you have any questions or wish to book an appointment to discuss your Will, please ring 01245 228127.

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