The Mental Capacity Act
What if I need help with my finances?
The Mental Capacity Act came into force on the 1st October 2007. The Act enables a representative of either your choice or someone appointed by the Court of Protection or Department for Work and Pensions to assist you with your finances and other important decisions regarding your welfare. The Act introduced the following:
A new Independent Mental Capacity Advocate (IMCA)
The Act sets up a new service. The advocate will help people who have no family or friends who wish to represent them. They will help people when important decisions have to be made involving health services and local authority services i.e. Adult Social Care or housing departments. If support is needed in making certain key decisions please telephone: 02033 558846 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A new Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA)
This is a legal document where you can say in writing who you want to make certain decisions for you. The document can cover decisions about your finances and/or healthcare. However you can only make this document legal if you are able to understand what it means. If you are interested in an LPA you should speak to a solicitor.
Please note if you have already made an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA), it is still valid even if it has not yet been registered, unless you decide to replace this with a Lasting Power Of Attorney (LPA). EPA and LPA are defined in the ‘Help with managing your money’ available on the website: www.publicguardian.gov.uk.
A new Deputy
The Court of Protection may make someone your Deputy. The Deputy can make certain decisions for you if you cannot decide everything yourself. A Deputy must act in your best interest and will only be appointed where it is appropriate for your needs. The Deputy will be monitored by the Public Guardian Office who will ensure that the Deputy is doing their job properly. The Deputy could be given the responsibility for making decisions about either your finances or welfare or both in some circumstances.
An application is required to the Court of Protection by the person seeking to control your finances. More information concerning this can be obtained from the Office of the Public Guardian, please see page 62 for contact details.
An application can be made to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for someone to act as your Appointee. This then allows them to receive all of your benefits (including Retirement Pension/Income Support/Disability Living Allowance etc) on your behalf.
An application will need to be made to the DWP by the person looking to take over control of your benefits, please see page 63 for contact details.
It may also be possible for the Council to assist in looking after your finances by becoming the Appointee or Deputy. Please contact the Council to discuss the situation further on the following numbers: 01604 367589, 01604 367868 or 01604 366482 or by visiting
the website: www.northamptonshire.gov.uk.