Women in Wills

Women in Wills virtual meetup: Assessing mental capacity

Last week saw Women in Wills host a virtual meetup with guest speaker Susan Wyatt, an Independent Mental Capacity Assessor.

Welcoming several new individuals to the group, the session began with a discussion of what WIW is, what we aim to achieve, and the vast array of events that we have lined up. For more information on the Women in Wills group, please see our website and subscribe to our newsletter.

After a brief update from Women in Wills sponsors Estatesearch and Arken.legal, we introduced our guest speaker for the afternoon, Susan Wyatt.

Susan began by discussing her career journey, starting off as a chocolate decorator then becoming a nurse for the NHS, later working as a medical sales rep. She decided to go to University later in her career and, due to her vast experience, started at Masters level and studied for three years whilst working. From here she became an advanced nurse practitioner and later an Independent Mental Capacity Assessor. A wealth of experience which has enabled her to become so successful within her field.

Susan later discussed what mental capacity is, how decision-making is an integral part of people’s lives, and the limitation that having impaired capacity has on the ability to give consent.

Importantly, lacking capacity varies between individuals: capacity may fluctuate, be either permanent or temporary, and be decision-specific. This highlighted the importance of assessing capacity accurately and identifying any cognitive impairment that may have occurred by injuries, illnesses, or learning disabilities.

Susan discussed how there is much more to a mental capacity assessment than examining impairment, and that it is important to have a free flowing conversation at the right time for the client in order to reduce anxiety to obtain a true picture of their medical history and beliefs before asking the “right question”. Susan’s expertise meant that one client “didn’t realise the assessment had started”.

Touching on the Mental Capacity Act, the group discussed the importance of having this law in place. It provides practitioners with protection for themselves and their clients and safeguards them against any future challenges.

The session was extremely valuable for all that attended and the feedback and questions raised demonstrated the importance of this area for many practitioners within the wills and probate sector.

Thank you to Susan Wyatt for joining us on this occasion. Thank you also to our sponsors Estatesearch and Arken.legal for supporting Women in Wills.

For all future events, please see the Women in Wills website here: https://womeninwills.co.uk/events/

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