QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank say they hope the recent news that Hollywood star Omar Sharif is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease is an opportune time to explain how thousands of families in the UK each year endure difficulties with dealing with the paperwork of those who have lost their mental faculties.

“It is sad that a man who is worldwide name for his appearances in Lawrence of Arabia and Dr Zhivago, has been blighted with this very sad disease,” said Frankie Harwood, of QualitySolicitors Mander Cruickshank.

“However, it does give us a chance to advise families left with the difficult task of caring for someone who no longer has use of their mental faculties,” she added.

Ms Harwood, whose firm are based in Coalville and Hinckley said that illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia is on the increase as we live longer  and it means that many once independent people can no longer look after their financial affairs.

“Lasting Powers of Attorney, which allow people to manage money on behalf of family members and other loved ones under the Mental Capacity Act 2005, are much needed in such situations,” she said.

Ms Harwood explained that a lasting power of attorney is a drawn up document, which allows another person to make decisions where a person has lost mental capacity, but this can only be set up when the person is still able to make decisions for themselves.

“I’m sure most of us have heard of people trying to talk to banks or similar institutions on behalf of someone and ending up exasperated due to client confidentiality,” she said.

“Imagine how hard that is if the person is not able to make their own decisions?

She added that when the mental capacity to make the decision has been lost, it is too late and an application would instead need to be made to the Court of Protection, a lengthy and expensive process.

“We wish to emphasise that once a lasting power of attorney is in place it does not mean the donor can no longer make decisions for themselves,” she added. “They can continue as before, but the appointed attorney is there just in case.”

“However, with the Alzheimer’s Society expecting there to be around a million people with dementia in the UK in the next decade the need for us all to have safeguards in place is vital.

Anybody wishing to know more is asked to call on 01530 510666.