April 02, 2019

What Lawyers Should Know about Clients with Mental Disabilities

Edmund Howe

Man seatedLawyers may encounter clients with many kinds of emotional problems. They may be better able to help them if they understand what these clients most need. An example is a client in the early stages of dementia who wants to write a will. The will may be contested later on the ground that the client was incompetent when he or she wrote it. The lawyer may most benefit this client by suggesting that a mental health professional assess the client and document his or her mental capacity at this time.

In this article, I first review a few key points regarding legal competency. I then highlight core considerations likely to be most useful to lawyers working with clients who have different kinds of psychiatric disorders.

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