The Mental Capacity Act and ‘Living Wills’

A practical guide for Catholics on this legislation to assist when making crucial healthcare decisions regarding mental capacity and living wills.

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The Mental Capacity Act 2005 specifies how, according to English law, decisions should be made on behalf of people who do not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves. The parts of this law dealing with advance decisions (‘living wills’) and lasting powers of attorney came into force in October 2007.

The Mental Capacity Act is about all the practical choices that have to be made on behalf of people who cannot make some decisions for themselves. There may be financial decisions that need to be taken, or choices made about where to live and how someone is to be cared for.

There are also all the day-to-day choices that have to be made – what we do and do not want to eat, for example. The Mental Capacity Act also covers healthcare decisions made when the end of life is approaching, and these decisions understandably cause people particular anxiety. It is the moral issues surrounding such healthcare decisions that are the main focus of this booklet.

You can download this practical guide for Catholics on The Mental Capacity Act and ‘Living Wills’.