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Capacity and How to Establish It

Jennifer C. Margrave provides some practical tips on this crucial issue

1 March 1996

Jennifer C. Margrave provides some practical tips on this crucial issue

From my experience of dealing with the elderly over a twenty year period, I believe I have developed a sixth sense as to when a client - not always elderly - is capable of giving me rational instructions. However, this article gives some pointers as to what to do when it is suspected that the new client does not have mental capacity.

Firstly, there is always the difficulty of the introduction, if another person; son, daughter, niece or nephew, has `wheeled in' the new client. Usually it is with the information that their mother, aunt or whoever, wish to make some form of gift to the introducer.

In these cases I always insist on seeing the client alone. Sometimes I have had to physically close the door on the relation. It is always useful to explain to the relative that, to ensure there are no allegations of undue influence, I need to see the new client alon...

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