If someone has an illness, mental health issues, dementia, or is suffering from the effects of a stroke or a brain injury, they might not be able to manage their own financial or health and welfare affairs. The Mental Capacity Act allows another person to manage someone else's affairs, in their best interests, when they no longer have the mental capacity to do so themselves.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 covers all decisions that the person can't make for themselves. It includes major decisions about someone's property and financial affairs, health and welfare, and where they live. It also covers everyday decisions about personal care, and things like giving gifts to others (for example, a birthday gift, or giving pocket money to a grandchild, if this is something the person has usually done in the past).
Someone can prepare for being unable to make decisions by completing a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This legally appoints a relative, friend or professional person to make decisions about them, on their behalf. Two different types of LPA can be made:
- health and welfare
- property and financial affairs
The person can choose to make one type, or both.
The LPA must be registered with the Office of the Public Guardian before it can be used. A health and welfare LPA can't be used until they have lost capacity, but a property and finance LPA can be used as soon as it is registered, which can be helpful if they're in poor health.
You can find out more about LPAs on GOV.UK and download the necessary forms.