Q What does it mean to be legally incapacitated?
In a guardianship proceeding, the court will appoint a guardian to protect the interests of an incapacitated person.
An incapacitated person means a person under the age of eighteen (18) years, or an adult individual who is unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter or unable to manage their financial affairs.
An individual may be declared medically incapacitated, but that has no legal effect. Until there is a finding of legal incapacity, that individual maintains all of their civil rights and enjoys all of the same privileges of a fully capacitated individual.
Texas Probate Code §§ 3(p) and 601(14) gives us the legal definition of incapacity.
"Incapacitated person" means:
(A) a minor;
(B) an adult individual who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter for himself or herself, to care for the individual's own physical health, or to manage the individual's own financial affairs; or
(C) a person who must have a guardian appointed to receive funds due the person from any governmental source.
When a Court finds an individual to be legally incapacitated, they must also find whether that legal incapacity exists as it relates to their person, or if it also encompasses their estate.