This section explains how decisions should be made if you lack capacity to make a decision for yourself, including what happens if you’ve made an Advance Decision (Living Will) or a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare.
You’ll also find information about the role of Court Appointed Deputies and Independent Mental Capacity Advocates.
The information in this section applies to people living in England and Wales. There are different laws that help people make decisions about medical treatment or care in Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Mental Capacity Act (MCA) sets out how doctors and those close to you make decisions on your behalf if you lack capacity. The person that makes decisions will depend on whether you’ve made an Advance Decision (Living Will) or a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare (LPA).
The healthcare professional in charge of your care or an appointed decision-maker (such as an attorney) must make decisions about your treatment and care based on what they believe is in your best interests.
Sometimes there might be a disagreement about the treatment or care that people think is best for you. If this happens, the decision-maker should try to find a solution.
You can appoint a family member or friend to make decisions about treatment and care on your behalf through a Lasting Power of Attorney for Health and Welfare (LPA). But if you haven’t made an LPA, these decisions may be made by a Court Appointed Deputy or an Independent Mental Capacity Advocate.