February 15, 2016

Estate Planning and Dementia: Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship.


A recent study commissioned by Alzheimer’s Australia has found dementia cases in the Coffs Harbour electorate are expected to increase by 122% by 2050.

Dementia in all its forms is terrifying for us all and especially for those suffering from it. Loss of brain function at any level raises some important legal challenges for both the sufferer and their extended family and friends.

A person suffering a loss of mental capacity through conditions falling under the umbrella term ‘Dementia’ can be rendered legally incapable of managing their own affairs. On a practical level this means bills can go unpaid, assets left to diminish in value, or someone other than a trusted friend or family needed to make decisions about health care matters.

If you are not able to make decisions for yourself, who would you like to see step in and manage your finances and make decisions about your health care?

Whilst it’s not a topic that many people want to confront, it’s important to understand that steps can and should be taken to ensure that the people you trust are given the legal authority to act in your best interests if or when you need their assistance.

Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents are an essential estate planning tool. They are a “set and forget” document, created in the hope that they may never need to used in circumstances of incapacity but giving comfort in the knowledge that they are in place if needed.

John F Kennedy’s famous statement “The time to repair the roof if when the sun is shining” is especially relevant in these matters – what many people don’t realise is that once there is a need for these documents it is often too late to sign them by reason of onset of mental incapacity. These documents cannot be created if a person has already lost capacity; there may be nothing in place at the time you need them the most.

At Mbt Lawyers our legal experts understand how sensitive and significant estate planning matters are. We spend the time with you and your family to set up an estate plan that provides you with protection, your desired outcome and peace of mind.

02 6648 7600