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The Mental Capacity Act

Mental Capacity Act - Social care and support guide

The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) is there to protect and empower people who lack the mental capacity to make their own decisions about their care and treatment. It applies to people aged 16 and over.

The MCA says:

  • assume a person has the capacity to make a decision themselves, unless it's proved otherwise
  • wherever possible, help people to make their own decisions
  • do not treat a person as lacking the capacity to make a decision just because they make an unwise decision
  • if you make a decision for someone who does not have capacity, it must be in their best interests
  • treatment and care provided to someone who lacks capacity should be the least restrictive of their basic rights and freedoms
Mental Capacity Act - Social care and support guide
Easy read guide - Mental Capacity Act 2005

Lasting power of attorney

You can arrange for someone else to make important decisions for you in the future. You can do this if you are 18 or older and currently have the mental ability to make such decisions.

This might include making financial, property related or medical decisions for yourself. This legal authority is called lasting power of attorney.

A lasting power of attorney is a legal document. It must be completed while the person still has capacity. It and cannot be used before it has been registered with the Office of the Public Guardian.

Find out more about different types of power of attorney
Guidance on making a lasting power of attorney for property and financial affairs