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Legal issues

Information hub

Legal Issues

    Mental capacity

    When someone has "mental capacity", this means they have a level of understanding to make decisions for themselves. The Mental Capacity Act 2005 protects people who cannot make decisions for themselves. The Act also enables people to plan ahead and put their finances in order should a time come if they lack capacity. They can decide how they want their finances and health to be looked after. 

    For more information on mental capacity see:

    • Mind - useful guidance about the Mental Capacity Act, including information about getting an assessment.

    Planning ahead to make decisions for the person you care for

    A Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) is a way of giving someone you trust to make decisions on your behalf because you are unable to - you lack capacity to make decisions. It is a legal document and it is set up before someone has lost capacity to make decisions. There are two types of LPA:

    • For financial decisions
    • For health and care decisions

    For more information about LPA, including how to set up an LPA, visit each website:

    Office of the Public Guardian is the agency to register your LPA. You can get the LPA forms and an information pack by downloading it online via the Office of the Public Guardian.

    Also see our Financial and legal issues section.

    Court of Protection

    You must have mental capacity to put LPA in place. However, sometimes people may find they have not put a LPA in place. If you want to be able to make decisions for someone who no longer has mental capacity, you can apply to the Court of Protection to become their deputy.

    A solicitor can help you set up and register the LPA, or apply to become a deputy. The Law Society has a database of qualified solicitors.

    Also see our Financial and legal issues section.

    Making a Will or trust

    It is always important to make a will. Even if you don’t think that you have much money or many possessions, by making a will you can make sure your wishes are carried out, such as your funeral arrangements and how you would like your money and possessions to be distributed.

    For information on making a Will:

    • Information NOW - useful article about making a will.
    • The Society of Will Writers - information about why people should make Wills. Also, search for a local Will writer.
    • MENCAP - free and impartial information and advice about writing Wills and setting up trusts for someone with a learning disability.

    Living Will

    A living will is expressing how you want to be treated and cared for in certain situations when you lack capacity. It can take into account an advanced decision or advanced statement. A living will is not legal. For more information:

    • My Living Will - lots of information about Living Wills, Advance Statements and Advance Decisions.


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