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Elder abuse and legal competence

When it becomes clear that an elder abuse is taking place, measures should be taken to rectify the situation, but what if the person being abused says they are aware of and alright with the treatment? For many individuals, there comes a time when, due to old age or mental illness, they are unable to make sound decisions in regard to their own well being. At this point, many people are declared to be legally incompetent.

In many cases, like the case of an elderly man in North Carolina, it can be difficult to determine whether or not an elderly person is at the point where they can be considered incompetent. Sometimes a decision will have to be made by a court in order to determine how an elderly individual's assets will be treated, but the situation can be made easier if a plan of action is made before the situation must be dealt with.

Declaring incompetency

The process of declaring a parent or loved one to be incompetent can be a difficult and complicated one and it is usually made much easier with the assistance of an experienced legal professional. However, there are some general steps that should be taken.

· Filing for guardianship - Becoming the legal guardian of your loved one will provide you with the ability to make legal decisions regarding their best interest. While becoming their legal guardian, you may also want to talk with them about providing you with durable power of attorney. This gives you the ability to make legal financial and medical decisions on their behalf once they are no longer able to make those decisions on their own.

· Have them psychologically evaluated - This step is essential to having your loved one declared incompetent. The evaluation must be conducted by a licensed psychological professional and may be required in later legal actions. If your loved one does not want to be evaluated, courts can require that they be evaluated. After the evaluation has been done, it must be submitted to the court.

· Schedule and attend the incompetency hearing - An incompetency hearing is a legal hearing that is used to determine if there is enough evidence to declare an individual as incompetent. The evaluation they have had will be important here, as will any additional documentation. It may be difficult, but it is generally best for the loved one in the long-term.

The process of declaring a loved one incompetent can be a very challenging one, but it will be made easier with the assistance of a knowledgeable and experienced legal professional. If you have questions about a situation in which you find yourself, it is highly suggested that you meet with a lawyer who will be able to help you as you work through the legal process.

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