There are currently around 982,000 people living with dementia in the UK, according to the Alzheimer’s Society, with the figure expected to rise to 1.4 million in 2040.

Dementia is not a specific disease. Rather, it is the general term for a group of symptoms, caused by different diseases that damage the brain. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, with 19 out of 20 people living with dementia having one of four main types.

Although dementia is not a natural part of ageing, the likelihood of developing dementia increases significantly as we get older. One in 14 people aged over 65 has dementia, which rises to one in six for people aged over 80.

Symptoms can vary and get worse over time. The most common symptoms of dementia include:

  • Memory loss.
  • Confusion and needing help with daily tasks.
  • Problems with language and understanding.
  • Changes in behaviour.

Receiving a dementia diagnosis can be devastating. Being diagnosed with dementia makes us question what will happen in the future and it is natural for people who receive a dementia diagnosis to want to do everything they can to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Making a Will is one of the best ways everyone can safeguard their interests by ensuring their wishes are followed after they die.

But does being diagnosed with dementia mean you are no longer able to make a Will?

Making a Will With Dementia

No. Receiving a dementia diagnosis does not mean you can’t make a Will. A person living with dementia can still write or update a Will, although additional steps may need to be taken to ensure its validity and reduce the chances of any subsequent disputes.

Anyone making a Will must have, and must be able to show, that they understand what they are doing and the effect it will have. This is known as having ‘testamentary capacity’.

To have testamentary capacity, a person making a valid Will must be able to demonstrate:

  1. Understanding. They must be able to understand the nature of what they are doing, why they are doing it, and the consequences their actions will have.
  2. Awareness of assets. They must recognise what assets they have, including property, savings and other personal effects.
  3. Awareness of the beneficiaries. Someone making a Will must be able to decide who will benefit from their assets and understand the implications of their choices.
  4. Decision making. They must demonstrate independent and rational decision-making skills that are not affected by others.

Testamentary capacity is assessed when you instruct a solicitor to make a Will and at all subsequent meetings, including when the Will is signed and witnessed.

Any concerns about whether an individual may lack testamentary capacity at any stage need to be addressed, as any doubts over a Will’s validity may be used as the basis of a claim to dispute it later on.

Golden Rule

The courts have set out a ‘golden rule’ that if someone making a Will is older, ill or has dementia or another condition that could affect their ability to make decisions, it is best practice for a doctor to be involved in the Will writing process.

This will ensure that there is the necessary medical evidence to support the  conclusion that the person making the Will has the testamentary capacity required to make the Will should anyone attempt to dispute it in the future.

A solicitor with experience in Will writing for elderly and vulnerable clients will be able to help. At Beverley Morris & Co. Solicitors, our specialist Wills solicitors in Blackheath have helped people living with dementia and their families with their estate planning needs for many years and continue to provide invaluable support and guidance at what they appreciate can be a very difficult time.

Our patient and approachable Will writing solicitors can advise you on what needs to be done to best protect you and your interests.

If you, or one of your loved ones, is living with dementia and needs legal advice, call Beverley Morris & Co. today on 020 8852 4433 or email

As dementia is a progressive disease with symptoms that get worse, it is crucial to make a Will as soon as possible following a diagnosis, as a person’s ability to do so may be further compromised over time.

If someone is deemed to lack testamentary capacity and needs to make a Will, or make a change to an existing Will, an application may need to be made to the Court of Protection for a ‘statutory Will’.

A solicitor will be able to advise on your situation and the best way to proceed.

Will Writing Solicitors Blackheath

If you, or one of your loved ones, has received a dementia diagnosis and needs some advice on making a Will, get in touch with Beverley Morris & Co. Solicitors.

Writing a Will is an essential part of everyone’s estate planning and it is the only way to ensure that your wishes are carried out after your death.

Our specialist Will Writing solicitors provide specialist legal advice for older and vulnerable people, their families and carers, and will ensure that all the necessary documentation is in place to protect you and your future.

With offices in Blackheath, Beverley Morris & Co. has provided Wills, trusts, inheritance tax and estate planning services to individuals and businesses throughout London and the South East for many years.

We realise that writing a Will may seem daunting but, once done, it will give you and your family invaluable peace of mind.

You can call us on 020 8852 4433 or email

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