Lasting Power of Attorney Mental Capacity Assessment
A Lasting Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows a person to appoint others to make decisions of their behalf. This can be vitally important in cases where the person lacks capacity to make decisions for themselves due to an accident or illness. Crucially, a Lasting Power of Attorney gives you more control over who manages your affairs if you’re unable to.
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney, which are sometimes referred to as LPA. They cover:
- Property and financial affairs
- Health and welfare
I am instructed by individuals, solicitors and local authorities who require robust, high quality mental capacity assessments. As a consultant Social Worker, I am well placed to complete mental capacity assessments for you concerning a person’s ability to create a Lasting Power of Attorney. I have a significant amount of experience as a practitioner and have completed hundreds of mental capacity assessments since 2009. I In addition, I am a qualified expert witness and instructed to complete mental capacity assessments ahead of legal proceedings.
How is it decided whether a person lacks capacity?
The assessment will identify whether the person understands what they are doing (appointing attorneys), the scope of authority conferred under the LPA and that no-one is forcing them to do it. The assessment process itself involves involve meeting the person (either face-to-face) and consulting their network of support. However, the actual assessment framework for this type of decision is contained within the Mental Capacity Act. This ensures that an objective assessment is completed each time and isn’t subject to personal opinion or assumptions about a particular diagnosis or someone’s age.
When completing a mental capacity assessment for this decision, I adopt best practice principles and adhere to the professional standard of the professional registration and membership bodies I belong to. They are Social Work England, Social Care Wales and the British Association of Social Workers.
How long will the assessment take?
Once instructed, I aim to complete my mental capacity assessments within 10 days with the actual assessment visit usually lasting between 1-2 hours. If, however you require an assessment completed urgently, please let me know and I will do everything I can to meet your specific timescales.
What happens if a person is assessed as lacking capacity?
If the outcome of the assessment is that the person lacks the mental capacity to make the decision, don’t worry. The assessment process is about protecting people’s wishes and autonomy as much as anything else. It’s a process that ensures that people aren’t discriminated against and make decisions for themselves where they’re able to. If a person is assessed as lacking the mental capacity to create a Lasting Power of Attorney, they won’t be able to appoint an attorney although it is possible that a person only lacks capacity to appoint an attorney for either health and welfare or property and financial affairs.
However, your assessment isn’t wasted because if the outcome is that a person lacks capacity, I can instead complete Part B of a COP3 form if you wish to make an application to become a deputy for property and financial affairs or health and welfare decisions.