What is Incapacity?


A person can be incapacitated short term or long term.  A person can be incapacitated at any age.  A person can have the ability to make some of their own decisions yet still be incapacitated.  So, how does that work?

According to the dictionary, the word incapacity has many definitions.  One from Webster's Dictionary is "the inability to understand information presented, appreciate the consequences of acting - or not acting on that information, and to make a choice."

The legal definition is rather different.  In order to understand the legal definition, we look to the Texas Estates Code, Sections 22.016 and 1002.017.

"Incapacitated person" means:

  • (1) a minor;
  • (2) an adult who, because of a physical or mental condition, is substantially unable to:
    1.  provide food, clothing, or shelter for himself or herself;
    2.  care for the person's own physical health; or
    3. manage the person's own financial affairs; or
  • (3) a person who must have a Guardian appointed for the person to receive funds due the person from any governmental source.

It is very important to understand an individual may be declared medically incapacitated, but that has no legal effect.  Until there is a finding of legal incapacity, a person maintains all rights and enjoys the same privileges of anyone that has capacity.