The examples and perspective in this article deal primarily with the United States and do not represent a
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In United States law, competence concerns the mental capacity of an individual to participate in legal proceedings or transactions, and the mental condition a person must have to be responsible for his or her decisions or acts. Competence is an attribute that is decision specific. Depending on various factors which typically revolve around mental function integrity, an individual may or may not be competent to make a particular medical decision, a particular contractual agreement, to execute an effective deed to real property, or to execute a will having certain terms. Depending on the state, a guardian or conservator may be appointed by a court for a person who satisfies the state's tests for general incompetence, and the guardian or conservator exercises the incompetent's rights for the incompetent. Defendants who do not possess sufficient "competence" are usually excluded from
The word incompetent is used to describe persons who should not undergo certain judicial processes, and also for those who lack mental
In 2006, the
A ruling of incompetence may later be reversed. A defendant may recover from a mental illness or disability, and a court may require a defendant to undergo treatment in an effort to render the defendant competent to stand trial. For example, in 1989,
An inmate on
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Generally, in the United States, a person has the capacity or competence to make the decision to enter into a contract if the person has the ability to understand and appreciate, to the extent relevant, all of the following: (a) The rights, duties, and responsibilities created by, or affected by the decision. (b) The probable consequences for the decisionmaker and, where appropriate, the persons affected by the decision. (c) The significant risks, benefits, and reasonable alternatives involved in the decision. See, e.g., California Probate Code §812.
This section does not
Competency was used to determine whether individual
The Act of June 25, 1910 further amends the GAA to give the Secretary of the Interior the power to sell the land of deceased allotees or issue patent and fee to legal heirs. This decision is based on a determination made by the Secretary of Interior whether the legal heirs are ‘competent’ or ‘incompetent’ to manage their own affairs.