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What is capacity?

A person has capacity (known as ‘decision-making capacity’) if they are able to understand what a decision means and the effects a decision can have.

If you have decision-making capacity, you are able to:

  • understand information about a situation or decision and the effect of the decision
  • remember that information well enough to be able to make the decision
  • use that information to make the decision
  • communicate the decision in some way.

For a person to have capacity to make a power of attorney, the person must understand what making that particular power of attorney will mean. For example, for an enduring power of attorney, the person must understand that the power continues even when they aren’t able to make decisions. They also need to understand that they won’t be able to supervise their attorney uses the power.

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