Make Wells a Dementia Friendly City is a hugely satisfying journey
6th October 2016
I am proud to be part of a group working to make Wells a Dementia Friendly City. It’s a hugely satisfying journey, and although we’ve nearly achieved our initial goal, we will aways have a long path ahead.
To achieve this aim, the Wells Dementia Action Alliance has been formed from representatives from local businesses, police, civic organisations, health and social care providers, schools, church groups and rescue services.We encourage businesses and organisations in the city to learn what it is like to live with dementia. Most of those we have approached have been 100 per cent supportive, mainly because we all have clients or connections affected by dementia.
Bishop Peter Hancock is our patron and we are grateful for his and his wife Jane’s support and enthusiasm.
The alliance aims to raise awareness of dementia throughout Wells to ensure we are inclusive of people living with dementia and their carers to help improve their ability to remain independent and have choice and control over their lives.
Now, having been helping individuals and their families plan their financial affairs for more than 30 years, there are some obvious top tips for people affected by dementia.
- One of the most sensible actions to take is to put in place a Lasting Power of Attorney, and there may be an old style Enduring Power of Attorney in place. Either way these documents enable individuals to be appointed, sometimes professionals, to act on your behalf in the event that you cannot make decisions for yourself. You need to have full confidence and trust in these persons. Make sure your legal adviser is part of a recognised professional body.
- Simplify your affairs in advance, make them tax-efficient and easy to administer.
- Give your house to your children? Rarely is this wise. Children can sometimes divorce, be made bankrupt, etc. Where do you live if these things happen?
- Depriving yourself of assets in an attempt to avoid paying for care is unwise, not least because you lose your ability to choose and control the quality of your care. The local authority will take a dim view and gifts may well be treated for assessment purposes as still in your ownership, and there may be Inheritance tax consequences. The changes in Inheritance tax which are being introduced in stages from April 2017 will need to be considered, especially the main residence nil rate allowance.
- For those with “severe mental impairment” such as dementia, there is an opportunity to claim exemption from council tax. The person concerned will need a certificate from a registered medical practitioner confirming this, and be in receipt of one of a number of specified benefits. Contact your local council tax office and ask for an application form.
- To seek help with claims for Attendance Allowance, which is not means tested and tax free, telephone 0345 605 6055.
- Arnold Wills is a director of Pilgrim Financial Planning Ltd, 31 Sadler Street, Wells BA5 2RR. Email your questions to Arnold.email@example.com and he will answer all he can in next month’s Business Matters pages.
No responsibility can be accepted for any actions taken or not taken after reading this article. In all cases suitable professional advice should be sought.