Can Alzheimer's Lead to Legal Incapacitation?

It is important to understand that a diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily mean that a person is legally incapacitated. Even if someone has mild cognitive impairment or any type of dementia, they can still have legal capacity if they can comprehend the nature and consequences of their decisions. I have had clients in my office who can clearly express what they want at the moment, but may forget what they told me the next day or even in the next hour. This does not mean that they are unable to create legal documents.

In the later stages of dementia, clients may still be able to discuss a power of attorney or health care directive, but may not pass the cognitive test needed to write a will. People with dementia may lose their mental capacity and be unable to make some decisions. The Mental Capacity Act is the law in England and Wales that safeguards people who lack the capacity to make a decision. A person is usually considered legally incapacitated when two doctors have done tests and examined the patient and submitted certificates of incompetence.