After a person has been deemed “legally incompetent”, a common question is whether they may ever regain competency. Luckily, we have significant experience representing clients in this process throughout Southeastern North Carolina.
If someone has been deemed “incompetent” (known as “the Ward”), the Clerk of Superior Court has decided that the person lacks sufficient capacity to manage their own affairs and/or to make and/or communicate important decisions concerning themselves. In order to regain “competency”, the Ward, their Guardian, or any other interested person, may file a Petition to Restore Competency.
Prior to filing a Petition for a client, we always feel it important to gather as much information and evidence as possible to determine the strength of the case. Sometimes it is not possible to have all the information in advance of filing the petition. For example, we may have to wait for the results of a Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation.
After the Petition is filed, the Petition and a Notice of Hearing must be served upon everyone involved in the case. Usually the same day the Petition is filed, the Clerk will schedule the case for hearing. Hearings are usually scheduled 10-30 days from the date everyone in the case has been served with the petition. The Clerk may delay the hearing if there is a valid reason.
At the hearing, our role, as representative of the “Petitioner”, is to prove to the Clerk that the Ward is able to manage their own affairs and make important decisions.
After the hearing is finished, the Clerk must decide whether to 1) fully restore the Ward’s competence, 2) partially restore the Ward’s competence and allow the Ward to make certain decisions, or 3) deny the restoration of the Ward’s competence. The Clerk’s decision will be drafted into an Order and filed with the court.
If the Clerk denies restoration of competency, we may file an appeal with the court to have a new trial within the allowable deadline.
Restoring competency to a Ward in Brunswick, New Hanover, or Pender county can be a time-consuming and detail-oriented process. We have the sensitivity, skill, and experience, gained over years, to effectively advise our clients. Please feel free to schedule a time to sit down and let us be of service to you.