Dementia Web - Dementia Information Resource for Oxfordshire

DementiaWeb - Dementia Information Resource for Oxfordshire


Wills and Dementia

Following a diagnosis of dementia many people will want to make sure their affairs are in order. If you have dementia and wish to make a will, or change your existing will, you should get legal advice from a solicitor as soon as possible.

Spouses, partners, and close friends or family members of someone who has dementia may also have good reason to update their wills.

Everyone should make a will. A will makes sure that when someone dies, their money and possessions go to the people they have chosen. A person with dementia can still make or change a will if they can show that they understand what they are doing and what the effects of it will be: this is called 'testamentary capacity'. Their solicitor will decide on this, sometimes after taking medical advice. People who no longer have 'testamentary capacity' because of their dementia cannot make or change a will, however their spouse or partner may still want to change their own will.

It is not actually the case, as many believe, that couples can have a "joint will". Many couples do go to their solicitor together to make their will, and the solicitor draws up "mirror image" wills, often with each partner opting to leave everything to the other, surviving, partner. However, some people who are caring for a spouse or partner who has dementia decide to change their own will so that in the event that they die before the person with dementia all their assets would no longer pass to the person with dementia. This may be because the carer feels that in the event of their own death the person with dementia would need to go into a care home, which might then use up both partners' assets. Often people have had the intention that some of their assets should pass on as an inheritance to their children, and by changing their half of the "mirror image will" the carer can help to safeguard this intention. Clearly however this is not an action to be taken lightly, as individual circumstances vary. Your solicitor should be able to advise you.

Further information about wills can be found in the following: : funded and managed by Guideposts with support from the Big Lottery Fund