Why is it important to write your will after a dementia diagnosis?

Whether you have dementia or not it's really important to make a will. It's also very easy to do. Find out all the basics…

Two facts worth knowing

-  One in three people die without making a will, causing financial chaos for their family.
-  If you're worried about the cost you can make a free will.

A will puts you in charge of your affairs and lets you choose what happens to your money, property and belongings after you've gone. Without a will, it can be very difficult for your loved ones to decide who should get what, and it usually falls to the government to share out your assets. Plus, if you have no remaining family and are unmarried, it means you will have died intestate and everything will go to the Crown.

So if you you’re keen for some of your estate to go to particular people or organisations – a local charity or close friend who’s supported you – it’s important to note these down in your will.

Where do I start?

You can download the documentation for a will online or buy one at a stationery shop. But if you have lots of different assets or complicated requests, it might be worth getting a solicitor to draft one up for you to ensure that everything is clear and less likely to be disputed after your death.

Your will need to state who you want to benefit, who should look after any children under the age of 18, who will sort out your estate (known as the executor), and what should happen if the people you want to leave assets to die before you do.

What if I have dementia?

You can still make a will if you’ve been diagnosed with dementia, so long as it’s judged that you have testamentary capacity – this means that you have the ability to make decisions about your will that you understand. Your solicitor will decide on this, usually taking advice from your doctor.

How much will it cost?

Technically, you can set up a will for free, just by downloading the relevant documentation and getting it signed. However, it’s worth getting professional help from a solicitor who is knowledgeable in estate law as it will give you peace of mind.

The cost can vary and will depend on who you use, whether you’re setting up a will for just you or for you and other family members at the same time, and whether the provisions you want to make are complicated. Prices start from £150-200 and go from there. Make sure you get a breakdown of what the costs will be when you set up your first meeting with a solicitor.