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Thinking about your legal affairs is a vital step once a diagnosis of dementia is confirmed. There may be implications from the diagnosis which need to be considered sooner rather than later. A diagnosis doesn’t mean a person is unable to make legal decisions, but this is likely to change as time passes.

Here are some areas to consider when planning for the future.

Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA)

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that sets out who you would like to manage legal, financial and certain personal care decisions for you. It comes into effect if you reach a point where you cannot make these decisions yourself. The EPA is created by a solicitor while you are able to manage your legal and financial affairs. It is prudent planning both for caregivers and for those with dementia.

Insurance

Some life insurance/assurance policies and mortgage protection policies will pay out early on a diagnosis of dementia. Check them carefully as some companies will specify a particular subtype such as Alzheimer's disease. Other policies such as Specified Illness cover and Critical Illness cover will also pay out on the basis of a diagnosis. If you are still in employment, you may have some form of Income Protection cover which will invariably pay out if you are unable to continue working.

Driving

People who have been diagnosed with a dementia are not automatically excluded from driving. However there are a few steps to take: - you must inform your insurance company or you may not be insured - you must inform the National Driving Licence Service - you must take an ‘on road’ driving assessment

Over time, dementia does affect a person’s ability to drive safely and you may need to consider giving up driving.

Employment Issues

Anyone with dementia who is still working is protected from discrimination and from dismissal just on the basis of a diagnosis.

People with dementia have the same civil and legal rights as everyone else. This booklet from the Alzheimer Society of Ireland explains what equality laws say and your rights in employment and more.

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