What is ‘mental capacity’?
‘Mental capacity’ means the ability to make a specific decision at the time it needs to be made. A person with it has at least a general understanding of:
- the decision they need to make
- why they need to make it
- any information relevant to the decision
- what is likely to happen when they make it
They should be able to communicate their decision through speech, signs, gestures or in other ways.
People can sometimes make certain decisions but don’t have the mental capacity to make others. For example, someone may be able to decide what to buy for dinner but be unable to understand and arrange their home insurance.