Giving someone else the right to access and operate your accounts is an important decision to take, but one that could be essential for your future peace of mind and ease of managing your finances. This could be necessary for a variety of reasons, including if:
We realise that this isn’t always an easy process, but to support you and your family and friends if they need to help you, we’ve put together a practical guide which includes all the information needed to make it as simple as possible.
If you’d like to discuss any of this information with us in more detail, simply book an appointment at one of our branches or call us on 01228 403 141.
In England and Wales mental incapacity is governed by the Mental Capacity Act 2005. Mental incapacity is defined in the Act to arise ‘because of an impairment of, or a disturbance in the functioning of, the mind or brain’. The assessment of a person’s capacity must be based on their ability to make a specific decision at the time it needs to be made and not their ability to make decisions in general.
The Act also provides that the impairment or disturbance does not have to be permanent. A person can lack capacity to make the decision at the time it needs to be made even if the loss of capacity is partial, temporary or their capacity changes over time.
Mental capacity means being able to understand a specific decision, retain information for long enough to make it, weigh up different choices and communicate the decision in any way possible.
The starting assumption must always be that the person has the capacity to make a decision, unless it can be established that they lack capacity. A person may also lack capacity to make decisions about one issue but not others.
Mental capacity can change over time and someone may not be able to make a decision at one time, and then be able to make the same decision at another time.
Someone with mental capacity is able to communicate decisions through speech, signs, gestures or in other ways. Taking time to understand or communicate may be mistaken for a lack of mental capacity, but having dementia, for example, doesn’t necessarily mean someone can’t make any decisions themselves.
If someone is having difficulty communicating what sort of decision they want to make, an attempt should always be made to overcome that difficulty and help the person decide for themselves.
Assessment of mental capacity is a medical function - our staff, no matter how well they know you as a customer or your family and friends, aren’t medical professionals and so can’t advise on someone’s mental capacity.