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When someone lacks mental capacity (Mental Capacity Act 2005)

What is mental capacity?

If a person lacks mental capacity, they may not be able to make decisions about certain things. This can be caused by an illness or a disability, such as:

  • dementia
  • mental health illness
  • learning disability
  • brain injury
  • stroke

Visit GOV.UK for guidance on checking mental capacity.

Help people make their own decisions

The Mental Capacity Act aims to protect and empower people who lack mental capacity. It's important to try and enable people to make their own decisions before making decisions on their behalf.

Visit NHS Choices for information on the Mental Capacity Act.

Make decisions for someone without mental capacity

You will need to contact the Court of Protection if you want to make decisions for someone without mental capacity.

You can apply to help someone with one-off or long-term decisions.

Apply to become a deputy

If the person needs help with making long-term decisions, you can apply to become a deputy. Visit GOV.UK for information on becoming a deputy.

Appointees for people who claim benefits

If someone lacks mental capacity, you can apply to become an appointee to manage their benefits.

Visit GOV.UK for information on becoming an appointee for someone claiming benefits.

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