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Judge’s Suicide May Help Highlight Growing Dementia Problem

17 Apr 2017

The legal world has been shocked recently by the sad news that of one of the UK’s most respected legal figures took his own life after being diagnosed with dementia.

Sir Nicholas Wall was a pioneering former head of the family courts in England and Wales, who championed rights for unmarried couples and transparency about court fees.

He had retired due to ill-health, which transpired to be a rare form of dementia, and his family have been admirably open about his death at the relatively young age of 71.

We in the legal world can only hope this sad tale will help further highlight a dementia epidemic, which we in the western world have to contend with. Whilst it is generally seen as a condition tied inextricably with old age the fact that an incredibly bright mind, like Sir Nicholas Wall has been affected shows this can happen to anyone.

As solicitors we have unfortunately had to become more involved in trying to help families faced with this issue, which causes great upheaval and problems for many people.

Whilst a cure for this problem remains high on the agenda for our medical professionals, the best advice as solicitors in London we can give to those in this great city is to do all you can to help make life easier for your family if dementia does strike.

If a debilitating condition takes hold then most people will want a loved one to have the legal power to make decisions on their behalf.

A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is the sensible answer. Done properly it sets out how you wish your family or appointed representatives to handle your affairs including health and welfare to ensure you get the treatment you want.

An LPA will also mean that the person you have chosen will have control ensuring your financial responsibilities are met. However, a Lasting Power of Attorney has to be drawn up whilst you are in good health.

Failure to do this may mean your family having to apply to the Court of Protection, where you will have no say in who is made a ‘deputy’ because, by this time, you’re legally considered incapable of making your own decisions.

All matters surrounding Lasting Powers of Attorney are something good law firms like Pindoria Solicitors are used to advising and helping on. Having an LPA in place gives huge peace of mind if dementia or another similar life changing condition takes hold.

As sad as the death of Sir Nicholas Wall is we hope that it will help highlight how difficult dementia can be and that people should seek legal advice to protect their wishes in the future.