Date Revised:

This is part of the Carers Road Map online guide for anyone who cares for someone with dementia and wants to know more about legal and financial planning.

Getting advice on legal and financial issues is essential for anyone diagnosed with dementia and their carer. It is important to get advice before the person you care for has lost the capacity to make informed decisions about the future, or the need for residential care. See legal and financial on the Alzheimer's Society`s website.

Lasting Power of Attorney

Having a lasting power of attorney in place will ensure that if the person with dementia loses capacity, someone they have chosen and trust can look after their affairs on their behalf. To set one up you can either use a solicitor or other trained adviser, or make the application yourself.
 
If a lasting power of attorney is not in place, and the person you care for has lost capacity, it is still possible to get permission to act on their behalf. An application can be made to become a deputy through the Court of Protection. However, this can be time consuming and costly.

Find out more about Lasting Power of Attorney.

Advance statements and advance decisions (living wills) 

As well as a Lasting Power of Attorney the person with dementia can make advance statements and advance decisions. These are often known as living wills.

  • An advance decision to refuse treatment (advance decision) is legally binding as long as it fulfills certain requirements. It allows someone to refuse treatment in advance of a time when they don’t have the capacity to make a decision for themselves.
  • An advance statement is not legally binding. It is a general statement of someone’s wishes, and what is important to them. It is usually written down and can contain any information they feel is important for others to know, such as religious, cultural, food and care preferences. 

Ensuring that you and the person you care for have these legal documents in place at the earliest possible time will provide peace of mind and sometimes financial security. It ensures the wishes of the person with dementia are respected. You might find it can relieve a lot of stress and anxiety if you are having to make important decisions on behalf of the person you care for.

See advance statements and advance decisions on Alzheimer's Society.
 

Tips

  • A Lasting Power of Attorney can only be drawn up while the person still has capacity to understand the process, so don’t put this off.
  • You will need a lasting power of attorney if you wish to manage someone else’s finances and have access to pay for care and other costs.  
  • You will need a lasting power of attorney that covers health and welfare to make decisions about the medical treatment, social care or housing of the person you care for. 
  • Plan for the future as soon as possible.  See how can I plan ahead to ensure my wishes are followed if I can’t make decisions in the future on Compassion in Dying.
  • Contact the Office of the Public Guardian if the person you care for has lost capacity to make a lasting power of attorney. 


Making a will 

It is Important to make a will regardless of whether we have any possessions or money, a will does not necessarily need to be drawn up by a solicitor. However unless the will is straightforward you should seek advice, for example from Citizens Advice.

Financial and other support 

It is important to find out about any financial support you may be entitled to as a carer as caring for someone with dementia can be expensive. You can have a benefits check by a trained adviser to ensure you find out about help you may be entitled to.  See if you can claim

There are a number of other financial entitlements which your local council, or carers, dementia or disability advice service will be able to help you with. 
 
If you are struggling with juggling work and caring:

  • Contact your human resources department or manager to let them know the situation.
  • Get in touch with your local council, or local carers organisation about a carer’s assessment for you and a community care assessment for the person you care for. 

This will give you the opportunity to explore available support, which could help you stay in work.
 

Tips

  • Check you are getting the financial support you are entitled to, contact your local Citizens Advice.
  • If the person’s condition deteriorates you may be entitled to increased support ask at your local advice agency.

 
Next in the Carers Road Map guide: When the person with dementia needs more support


Next review due: June 2017