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Mental Capacity Act & Assessment Solicitors
If you are looking for specialist legal advice on the Mental Capacity Act 2005 or mental capacity assessments, the solicitors at JMW are here for you.
We have considerable expertise in all aspects of mental capacity law, allowing us to help ensure that people with mental impairments are able to delegate legal responsibility for their financial affairs.
Our expert lawyers will also put things in place to ensure those without the mental capacity to make their own decisions are respected in relation to their future care and wellbeing, and to receive the ongoing support they need to keep their affairs in order.
For expert guidance on all aspects of mental capacity law, including the Mental Capacity Act and mental capacity assessments, call us on 0345 872 6666 today, or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.
How JMW Can Help
The wills, trusts and estate planning team at JMW Solicitors is hugely respected and experienced, providing compassionate advice on mental capacity issues. We can offer you legal guidance on the Mental Capacity Act 2005, and assist in assessing whether or not a person possesses the capacity to make legally binding decisions about their own care or finances.
We can also advise on how Lasting Power of Attorney or a Court of Protection deputyship can be awarded to help vulnerable individuals delegate their legal responsibilities to a loved one, or offer help when mental capacity queries are raised during a dispute with health or social services about the care a relative is receiving.
JMW has been recognised as one of the UK’s top law firms by the prestigious Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners guides on several occasions. The 2019 Chambers guide praised us for placing “the uppermost value on building close working relationships” with our clients.
Moreover, our solicitors give regular seminars on wills, trusts, Inheritance Tax and estate planning, and several of them are members of the respected Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). As such, you can feel certain that the advice you receive from us conforms to the highest industry standards.
If you are looking for a solicitor with experience in mental capacity issues, get in touch with JMW’s wills, trusts and estates team today. Give us a call on 0345 872 6666 or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back.
What does ‘mental capacity’ mean?
In legal terms, mental capacity is defined by the ability to make your own decisions. In order to demonstrate mental capacity, an individual needs to be able to do the following:
- Understand information given to them about a particular decision
- Retain the information long enough to be able to make an informed choice
- Properly evaluate the data and respond to it accordingly
- Communicate the decision they have made to the relevant parties
Traumatic injuries, strokes, dementia, severe learning disabilities or severe mental health problems can all affect a person’s mental capacity in ways that are temporary or permanent. Some people will be able to make decisions on certain days, and not on others; in other cases, the individual may be at risk of gradually losing their mental capacity as their condition grows more severe.
For help determining whether you, a family member or loved one has or could lose the capacity to make important life decisions, take a look at our Mental Capacity Act Quiz.
What is the Mental Capacity Act?
The Mental Capacity Act, passed in 2005, is the law that applies in England and Wales to protect individuals aged 16 and over who are unable to make decisions for themselves, as well as to help people plan against a potential loss of mental capacity in the future.
The act applies to major decisions about personal finance and health and social care, as well as everyday decisions about what to wear or eat. It protects everyone’s right to make their own choices and be involved in any decisions that affect them, while putting in place legal safeguards to ensure that any decision taken on another person’s behalf is in their best interest.
The Mental Capacity Act advises:
- Not to treat someone as lacking the capacity to make a decision because they have made an unwise decision
- To assume someone has the capacity to make a decision on their own unless that’s proved otherwise
- Help people make their own decisions where possible
- Make sure decisions made on behalf of someone without capacity are in their best interests
- Before making a decision on behalf of someone who lacks capacity, always question if there is something else that can be done that would interfere less with their basic rights and freedoms
What is a mental capacity assessment?
The Mental Capacity Act states that a two-stage process should be undertaken when assessing an individual’s capacity.
- Stage 1: Also known as ‘the functional test’, this part of the assessment asks investigates whether the person is unable to make a particular decision
- Stage 2: This stage focuses on why the person is unable to make a decision - is it because of an impairment of their brain or due to external factors such as alcohol or drug use?
Who can conduct a mental capacity assessment?
The law does not restrict who can carry out a mental capacity assessment, however, the following types of professionals typically are more likely to have the skills required to carry out effective assessments:
- Social workers
Can a solicitor assess mental capacity?
Doctors and lawyers are both able to provide mental capacity assessments when it is suspected that an individual no longer possesses the capacity to make educated decisions in their own best interest.
These assessments need to go beyond the age and appearance of the person in question or any assumptions about their condition or behaviour; distinctions should also be made between a person making informed choices that others may not agree with, and someone who has genuinely lost mental capacity.
Mental capacity often needs to be assessed regularly, particularly when a care plan is being developed or reviewed on their behalf.
Talk to Us
For more advice on the legal issues relating to mental capacity, contact JMW Solicitors today. You can reach us on 0345 872 6666, or fill in our online enquiry form to request a call back at your convenience.