Clients with Learning Disabilities or Dementia

If you or your family face the challenges having a child with learning disabilities or a relative with Dementia can bring you will know that there are enumerable issues which have to be dealt with.

Social Services and specialist charities offer an enormous range of practical advice and help.

But on top of this various legal considerations arise. The most frequent question we are asked is “What provision do I make for that person when I die? I don’t want my assets to simply go to the government or on care fees!”
The short answer to this is that there are special trusts that can be created to help you provide for your loved one and our leaflets on Trusts generally and Trusts for the Disabled provides information on this.

The other common problem arises when the person with a disability actually owns property or assets or has inherited something. This situation can arise both with a child with learning disabilities or in the case of an elderly person who is suffering from dementia but does not have a valid power of attorney. In such cases we have to resort to the Court of Protection. This is a division of the High Court designed to deal with the affairs of those with a mental handicap.

Over the years this once unresponsive and expensive Court has been through a number of modifications - the most recent arising under the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Compared to dealing with someone’s affairs using a power of attorney resorting to the Court of Protection remains slow and more expensive but it is far more responsive than it ever used to be and can provide assistance in these main ways:

  • the first relates to the management of the affairs of a person with a mental handicap – the Court can appoint a person to be responsible for looking after the handicapped person’s financial affairs - subject to the Court’s supervision
  • secondly the Court can assist with wills. It can authorise the making of a will, a “Statutory Will”, on behalf of the person with a mental handicap. This can be done for tax reasons or to replace a will of dubious validity
  • thirdly the Court can authorise the making of trusts or gifts on behalf of the person with a mental handicap.

This last function is particularly important because neither Enduring or Lasting Powers of Attorney can be used to make gifts or for tax planning purposes.

Please contact a member of the team to discuss your individual needs.

Dementia Friends