Severe mental disorders, dementia, or intellectual and developmental disabilities can temporarily or permanently incapacitate an individual. An incapacitated individual has been deemed by the court as unable to manage his or her own affairs, such as making medical decisions, managing finances and other assets, and accepting treatment options.
When an individual becomes legally incapacitated, a guardian may be put in place to manage their affairs for them. This is a legal process managed by the Probate court. Typically, a family member is chosen as guardian, but if there are no available family members, a professional guardian may be assigned.