A growing number of people with dementia have become victims of financial abuse, particularly including scams and mis-selling.

Currently 850,000 people are living with dementia in the UK and has overtaken heart disease as the biggest cause of death in the UK.  

The Alzheimer’s Society gas estimated that there will be over a million people living with the condition by 2025 and over two million by 2051.

Unfortunately dementia can make it very difficult for people to manage their finances, and as the disease progresses, problems can quickly compound, and becoming a victim of financial scammers is becoming all too common

There are several steps you and your family should consider to protect yourself, so that whatever happens, you can make life easier for yourself and our families.

steps to take to protect your finances as you get older

What to do straight away

Everyone should consider setting up a lasting power of attorney (LPA). LPA’s are not just for the elderly and those in declining years. There are two types of LPA – Health & Wellbeing and Property & Finances. The LPA allows you to select a person who can make decisions for you if you are no longer able to.  

Get your finances in order today. Draw up a list of all the organisations you have accounts with including account numbers and keep it in a safe place. You may also wish to simplify your finances by consolidating accounts together where appropriate.

3Make sure your Will is valid and up-to-date. If you do not have a Will your estate will be distributed according to strict rules of intestacy, which may not be what you wish to happen.

What should I do if I am diagnosed with Dementia?

Arrange to have all of your day to day financial transactions to automated, including paying bills by direct debit. This will help avoid any missed payments and the anxiety caused by missed payments.  

Arrange for your bank and organisations that you have accounts with, to be able to speak with a trusted member of your family, so that they can operate the accounts on their behalf.

Check with your savings and investment companies what would be required if you need to use the LPA. Some organisations will ask to see a copy of the LPA document, signed by a solicitor. Others will require you to fill in a form, and some will ask to see the original power of attorney document each time you have dealings with them.

What should I do if my condition deteriorates

Register the LPA with the Office of the Public Guardian as soon as possible, so that your Attorney can take over the day-to-day running of your finances.

If you have not been able to set up an LPA, you can apply to the Court of Protection – either for a one-off order, or to appoint a deputy to make financial or welfare decisions for you. This can be more complicated and a great deal more expensive than an LPA but means you can make key decisions. 

Get rid of all of your credit cards. This reduces the risk of you getting confused or misled or even the victim of a fraud. If you have an overdraft facility it may be wise to cancel this as well. You could also set up a separate bank account to limit the funds they have access to. Sadly sufferers can be a target for financial fraudsters, so it is important to reduce to risks as much as possible.  

To protect you from doorstep scammers, put a chain on your front door, and even put a sign for the back of the door advising not to open to anyone who does not have an appointment.

Arrange for call blocker to be installed on your phone line, which will block or screen incoming calls that are not from recognised numbers.

Sign up to the telephone preference service and the mailing preference service, to reduce the junk mail and nuisance calls you receive.

Action Call

If you would like to talk to about financial planning, please get in touch for a no-obligation meeting. Go to our website www.miadvice.co.uk and contact us via our “Get in touch” form on our home page or Contact Martin Dodd on 01902 742221.

Email us at financialplanning@miadvice.co.uk

It is advisable to take advice from a professional financial adviser when making major financial planning decisions.

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This article has been prepared in good faith and based on Midlands Investment Agency’s understanding of the law and interpretation thereof at the time of creation. The contents should not be regarded as specific advice and we always recommend that specific advice is sort from a qualified professional. No responsibility can be accepted by Martin Dodd or Midlands Investment Agency Ltd., for any loss that may occur by a person acting or refraining from acting on the basis of this article.