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How to help someone who lacks mental capacity

Lasting Power of Attorney

If you are able to make decisions for yourself but think that you might not be able to in the future, you could consider making a  Lasting Power of Attorney.

Contact the Office of the Public Guardian for help with filling out forms.

Court of Protection

If you have already lost the capacity to make decisions you cannot grant power of attorney to another person.

In this case, the Court of Protection could make a decision on financial or welfare matters on your behalf.


You can apply to become a deputy if they lack mental capacity.

A deputy is usually a friend or relative of the person who lacks capacity, but could also be a professional who will make decisions in the best interests of the person who lacks capacity.

To become a deputy is a serious undertaking, you will be authorised by the court to be responsible for decisions about:

  • welfare
  • health care
  • and financial matters

If many decisions need to be made for a period of time, the Court of Protection can be appointed as a deputy to give them the power to make decisions on a person's behalf.

This can be a long and expensive process so it's important to act early and set up a Lasting Power of Attorney while you still have the capacity to do so.


You can apply to become an appointee in order to manage another person's benefits. This means you can make and maintain benefit claims, receive the money and spend it in the claimant's best interests. 

Appointees can be:

  • a friend or relative
  • an organisation or representative of an organisation, for example, a solicitor or local authority

There can only be one appointee for each claimant.