How to Advise Clients with Diminished Capacity

Capacity is a term involving the mental ability to understand one’s actions.  Of course, capacity can vary day to day and with new situations.  Having diminished capacity can happen for a myriad of reasons, such as an accident, a stroke or even a mental health reason.  Sometimes that capacity can be reversed while other times it cannot.  It is difficult when a loved one has diminished capacity and wants to make changes to their estate plan as they must made choices regarding their health and financial matters.  And each choice requires a certain amount of capacity.

A client must be able to understand a Will or Trust is being made and the client must understand what they have and be able to identify people (family and friends) who would have a claim to their estate and understand their relationship with those people. 

To appoint a health care agent, a client must understand the scope of what they are doing in appointing someone to manage their health care.  When creating a health care power of attorney, a client just needs to know that they are giving their power to someone else to make health care decisions on their behalf.