IN LIGHT of recent mental health findings, Brisbane litigation lawyers are advising families to keep a close eye on their own affairs, and the affairs of those dear to them.
Reports have indicated dementia to be a disease on the rise, with the number of total sufferers in Australia expected to reach 900,000 from the current 340,000 within the next thirty years.
Charlie Young of Bennett and Philp Lawyers says these research results are disturbing, especially in the context of estate planning and will management.
"For a will to be valid, the person making it has to be of sound mind and fully understand and appreciate what they are doing," says Young.
"If [a person] has dementia, they are not legally able to change their will."
Shining a spotlight on the issue, Young says commonly impacted groups are blended families and partners who forget to change or update their wills until it becomes too late.
In these and other instances, people are able to turn to the courts for help with estate planning for themselves and their loved ones.
"A lot of people probably do not know that the Court has the power to make a will, alter an existing will or even revoke parts of a will for a person who lacks 'testamentary capacity,' such as someone with dementia," says Young.
"The intention is to enable a will to be created that a person would likely have made if they were of sound mind the family has the option to ask the Supreme Court to make the requested changes."
Further findings confirm that dementia should no longer be considered solely a senile disease, with some people in their 30s and 40s developing signs.
It is important for people of all ages to stay on top of their will management and keep careful consideration for the wellbeing of their friends and family.
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