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How are mental capacity assessments carried out during Covid-19?

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Heather Lally, Associate Solicitor, Estate and Trust Practitioner and fully accredited member of Solicitors for the Elderly from FDR Law considers the practicalities of mental capacity assessments during Covid-19.

Mental capacity assessments are often needed by Solicitors particularly if a person wishes to make a Will or a Lasting Power of Attorney.

Obtaining a mental capacity assessment from a qualified specialist Doctor who can do such assessments can be challenging at the best of times, given work loads of Doctors and the time taken for such assessments.  Now with extra pressures on the NHS and in particular with many of those people who  require such an assessment, either self-isolating at home or within a Residential Care Home which may have high numbers of residents testing positive for Covid-19, times are even more problematic.

However , there are specialist companies who can assist with such assessments and reports, which will cover all aspects of the assessment and adhere to government guidance which is particularly important during the pandemic.

Residential Care homes have been assisting using technology when available to allow Solicitors and assessors to talk to clients face to face. Solicitors have been involved in taking instructions and witnessing documents through windows following social distancing where appropriate.

Whilst requiring an assessment during lockdown is not ideal, Solicitors and other professionals are finding ways to adapt to ensure solutions are found for those in need.  Gloves can be used, people are to use their own pens, when signing documents and inventive ways of witnessing Wills over car bonnets are all solutions that are being used currently.

For more information on the issues raised in this article, please contact Heather Lally on 01928 739300 or email Heather.Lally@fdrlaw.co.uk