At some point in your life, you might decide it would be better if someone else could manage your affairs for you – permanently or on a temporary basis.
Perhaps a family member has suggested it would be a good idea. They might have watched you struggling to keep up with regular paperwork or having trouble claiming benefits or selling your home.
If you are ill or disabled, or have dementia or a severe brain injury, it’s not unusual to need help with big decisions and complicated issues. The way you do this depends on your circumstances and whether or not you have what’s known as ‘mental capacity’. This means whether or not you are able to understand and make your own decisions about your life.
The Mental Capacity Act 2005 works on the principle that a person aged 16 and over has the mental capacity to make their own decisions about money, medical treatment and social care services if they are given enough time, support and information to do so.
A person cannot be judged to lack mental capacity just because other people don’t agree with their decisions.
You might lack mental capacity due to:
- a brain injury or a stroke
- a learning disability
- a mental health issue
- substance abuse
The options for managing your affairs depend on whether or not you have mental capacity.