January 15, 2007 articles from the National Post and the Globe and Mail describe breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s research.

This encouraging news raises the possibility that we may be closer to a cure for this terrible disease, or at least treatments to slow the onset. Families struggling daily against the ravages of dementia can now see some light at the end of a very long tunnel.

Capacity law could be greatly affected as well. Current assessments to determine capacity, such as the capacity to manage property or the capacity to execute a Will, mix elements of science (such as cat scans) with the experience and judgment of the capacity assessor. Different assessors come to different conclusions in close cases.

As science can better identify and isolate genetic causes of dementia, we can expect more accurate tests. We might even see partial or comprehensive cures for dementia diseases. If so, patients who have lost capacity might recover it. Someone unable to sign a binding Will in 2006 could theoretically regain that ability in 2008.

This opens a Pandora’s box of fascinating questions. For example, if John Doe loses capacity in 2005 and regains it in 2010, who’s to say if he would name the same beneficiaries in 2011 as in 2004? Conceivably his personality may be significantly different after recovering capacity than it was before he lost it.

A beneficiary’s joy at recovering a loved one could be tempered by losing an inheritance.

Thanks for reading.

Sean Graham