Understanding Legal Incapacity and How It Is Determined

Most of us take our independence for granted. 

Whether it is being able to bathe ourselves, drive ourselves to the grocery store, or sign an important document, most of us do these things without even thinking. It comes naturally to us. However, what if these abilities were taken away from us?

These abilities can be taken away due to things like dementia, mental illness, or physical disabilities. Your independence would be compromised and someone would have to assist you in daily tasks and decision making. 

It is important to understand legal incapacity and what it brings. Make sure to keep reading to find out more. 

What Is Legal Incapacitation?

Before looking at what comes along with legal incapacitation, it is first important to understand the definition of incapacity. 

Being incapacitated means a person is no longer able to care for themselves or their affairs. It could be for a permanent or short period of time, and it can extend to affairs such as property, financial, and legal management. 

What Leads to It?

There are many causes that could call for incapacity, one of the largest causes being the dementia epidemic. Dementia causes severe memory loss, confusion, concentration issues, and the decreasing ability to perform tasks independently. 

Severe physical injury, slipping into a coma, certain mental illnesses, birth defects, intellectual hindrances, and old age can also call for legal incapacity. 

What Is Next?

Obviously, legal incapacity will frustrate anyone. It is difficult to hand over responsibility and independence due to something you may have never seen coming. No one likes handing over their ability to manage finances or legal matters.

The decision to declare someone as legally incapacitated is determined by a court. A medical team will submit opinions on the individual in question after a series of tests and evaluations. The court will then look over these opinions.

It is possible for a family member or the individual to challenge the decision. If someone does challenge it, typically, the court will bring in a psychologist. 

Once someone is officially declared legally incapacitated, whoever takes legal responsibility of the individual will then step in as the decision-maker for things such as property and money. Typically caretakers are family members because it is important to keep things like finances in the family

Can It Be Reversed? 

Is being declared as legally incapacitated permanent?

It is not permanent in cases such as coming out of a coma or where the condition improves. Once the person is cured and/or fully responsive, the court can reverse the order if the individual shows they are capable of taking responsibility. 

Understanding Legal Incapacity

Unfortunately, sicknesses and circumstances can occur to an individual that leads to legal incapacity. To dig in a little deeper on this, make sure to read above. 

Someone who is incapacitated is not physically and/or mentally able to handle legal and financial matters on their own and may not even be able to complete daily tasks on their own. Another individual will have to claim responsibility. Under certain circumstances, it is reversible. 

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