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Can a ruling of mentally incompetent be overturned?

My dad has moderate dementia, but all my sisters and brothers are jumping the gun (I think) and are saying he has Alzheimer's. They've even had him "committed" and all his legal rights taken away, which I believe is a travesty as my dad is still a very lively and active man with fairly good reasoning capabilities. They actually took him to court and had him declared "mentally incompetent" and he said his attorney didn't show up - and I believe him. I've been fighting the 'authorities' but it's a losing battle; once you've been declared MI they don't listen to a thing you say...my siblings did this to him just get him out of the way as they are all angry with him. I am not angry with him and want to serve as his guardian, but as they have him in another state (MA), everyone there is saying i have little or no chance of having him come out to Arizona to live with me or near me. I guess I'm just looking for some support or if anyone knows any attorneys who'd be willing to help my dad out. He doesn't like living in Massachusetts and wants to come and be near me and his grandchildren.
Status: Open    May 29, 2015 - 02:59 AM

Elder Law

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Jul 08, 2015 - 04:01 PM

A mental incompetence declaration is not a legal distinction that a court takes lightly. The ruling places an adult under the guardianship of another, which is a very heavy responsibility. With all respect, are you certain of your dad's present condition, diagnosis and symptoms? I have residents in memory care right this minute who are very lively, can hold conversations and even have great reasoning capabilities who, nonetheless, are experiencing the symptoms of a progressive and invariably debilitating disease. I really would counsel you do some more research and give the benefit of the doubt to your siblings and the nurses charged with your dad's care before jumping the gun on moving him thousands of miles away. Remember, the mark of dementia is that "you can't remember that you don't remember," so if he is saying negative things over the phone from the other side of the country, you may be hearing the affects of the disease more than the actual situation. If you still feel that your father has been unjustly declared incompetent and should not be living where he is, I would advise you to consult with a local elder care attorney.

Sep 16, 2015 - 09:33 AM

Your father is entitled to having a lawyer present at a hearing such as this, if he wanted one. You also should have been notified of these proceedings and been given the opportunity to contest your siblings’ position. If some of these legal guidelines were not met, you may be able to have an earlier decision overturned. I recommend contacting an attorney in Massachusetts who is familiar with the local court division where the hearing was held to discuss whether there is a chance to have the decision overturned.
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