The Mental Capacity Act 2005

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 came into force in 2007 and applies to people aged 16 and over in England and Wales.

The Act aims to protect people who cannot make a decision for themselves. It means that a person can plan ahead for a time when they may not be able to make decisions themselves. It explains:

  • who can make decisions
  • in which situations they can make these decisions
  • how they should go about making these decisions.

There are many parts to the Act, including information on Lasting Power of Attorney and Advance Decisions to Refuse Treatment.

The Act states that a person lacks capacity if they are unable to make a decision for themselves (in relation to a specific matter) because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in, the functioning of the mind or brain.

A person will lack capacity if they cannot do one of the following:

  • understand the information about the decision
  • remember that information
  • use or weigh up that information as part of the process of making the decision
  • communicate their decision (by talking, using sign language or any other means).

Back to Advance care planning in England and Wales

Planning ahead

Planning ahead can help people know what care you would like if you become unable to make choices yourself.

Making a will

Having an up-to-date will ensures that your wishes for who you would like to leave your estate to are guaranteed.

Your wishes for your care

When planning ahead, it is important to think about how and where you would like to be cared for.

Funeral planning

Planning your funeral in advance means your family and friends can arrange the type of funeral you would like.