Consent & Capacity Law
Capacity is the ability to take care of yourself and make decisions about your own behaviour, finances, health and personal care. A person can be judged incapable if he or she is unable to make such decisions. Somebody else — such as a friend, relative or institution — will then step in to make decisions on his or her behalf in order to protect the incapable person or the public.
At Bernstein Law Group, we deal with clients who are unable to make decisions for themselves, as well as clients who are alleged to be incapable and wish to maintain control of their lives. We also deal with people who are confined out of concern that they may pose a danger to themselves or others.
When Capacity And Consent Can Affect Freedom And Independence
Some of our clients have been confined, or had their decision-making rights taken away, by friends, family or institutions that cite reasons like:
- Inability to take care of themselves physically, which shows up as lack of grooming or proper nutrition, or persistent health problems
- Inability to take care of their environment (i.e., their home)
- Doing things out of character, such as stopping previous social activities, dressing strangely, isolating themselves from friends and family, or spending more money than usual
- Threats of suicide
- Threats of harm to others
Many of these reasons are very subjective. What may be perfectly rational changes in behaviour may be seen as frightening and out of character by family and friends. This is especially likely if they have fallen out of touch and are not familiar with the supposedly incapacitated person's daily life.
Facilities can only hold people for 72 hours without doing a hearing to decide if they should be released or not.
In many circumstances, during a hearing our lawyer can help clients explain their side of the situation and prove their own ability to take care of themselves.