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While incapacity ultimately is ruled by a judge, it is important to know the meaning and what questions you should ask and be mindful of in order to determine if an individual needs a guardian. Utah law defines incapacity as an individual’s functional limitations in regard to their ability to receive and evaluate information, construct and communicate decisions, and provide life necessities including healthcare and self-care.

            It can be distressful when you notice that a loved one may be struggling. It is important to under the signs of incapacity and challenges they may be facing with making decisions, handling their affairs, and protecting themselves from physical, emotional, or financial harm.

As those conditions can be quite vague, listed below are a variety of categories and general questions to consider, helping you understand and decipher an individual’s lack of capacity and urgency for a guardian.

  • Personal Safety
    • Can this person live alone without being at risk?
    • Does this person have a phone available and is capable of using it in an emergency?
  • Independent Living
    • Can this person Initiate and follow a daily schedule of activities?
    • Can this person drive a car and utilize community resources?
  • Residential
    • Can this person make and communicate decisions in regard to their residence or property?
    • Are they able to maintain a clean, safe space adequately?
  • Nutrition
    • Are they able to prepare and cook meals?
    • If they have health conditions such as diabetes, are they able to follow the prescribed diet?
  • Health Care
    • Can this person make and communicate choices in regard to medical treatment, caregivers, and assistants?
    • Is this person able to follow proper instructions when taking their prescribed medication?
  • Financial
    • Does this person adequately maintain a bank account?
    • Do they know the source and amounts of monetary benefits they receive?
  • Civil
    • Does this person understand how to obtain legal counsel or services?
    • Are they able to communicate wishes regarding

Deciding whether or not appointing a guardian is necessary can be overwhelming considering you will be taking on the immense responsibility of making decisions for someone else. Fortunately, there are numerous resources accessible to guide you through the process. It can be of great benefit to seek the guidance and counsel of professionals trained in handling the procedure of appointing a guardian.  Clarior Law is available to represent those interested in seeking appointment as a guardian or to represent those concerned about the possible implications of a guardianship.

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