Incapacity is a legal term used to describe an individual who cannot manage his affairs. Because people require capacity to make medical and financial arrangements, those without capacity must have somebody else make these important decisions for them. Because not everybody has the foresight to designate a financial and medical decision-maker to step in if they lose capacity, guardianships and conservatorships sometimes become necessary. Generally speaking, a family member or close friend petitions the court to appoint a guardian or conservator, or both, when they believe somebody has lost capacity. The court evaluates the guardianship or conservatorship information and has discretion whether to make the appointment. If the court appoints a guardian or conservator, the incapacitated person becomes referred to as a “ward.”

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