Skip to main content

Help with Mental Capacity

Power of Attorney

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or make decisions on your behalf.

This gives you more control over what happens to you if, for example, you have an accident or an illness and can’t make decisions at the time they need to be made (you ‘lack mental capacity’).

You must be 18 or over and have mental capacity – the ability to make your own decisions – when you make your LPA.

There are 2 types of LPA:

  • health and welfare
  • property and financial affairs

You can choose to make one type or both.

Visit the government’s web site for more information about appointing a Power of Attorney

Deputyship

You can apply to become someone’s deputy if they ‘lack mental capacity’ - this means they can’t make a decision for themselves at the time it needs to be made. They may still be able to make decisions for themselves at certain times.

People may lack mental capacity because, for example:

  • they’ve had a serious brain injury or illness
  • they have dementia
  • they have severe learning disabilities

As a deputy, you’ll be authorised by the Court of Protection to make decisions on their behalf.

There are 2 types of deputy:

  • property and financial affairs, eg paying bills, organising a pension
  • personal welfare, eg making decisions about medical treatment and how someone is looked after

You can apply to be just one type of deputy or both. If you’re appointed, you’ll get a court order saying what you can and can’t do. 

Visit the government’s web site for more information about becoming someone’s deputy

Mental Capacity

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 covers people in England and Wales who can’t make some or all decisions for themselves. The ability to understand and make a decision when it needs to be made is called ‘mental capacity’.

Visit the government’s web site for more information about the Mental Capacity Act

Last updated 28/05/2015