Definition - What does Incompetence mean?

Incompetence, incompetency or incompetent can refer to:

  • The lack of qualification or inability to perform a task (at work, for example)
  • The inability to bear witness at a trial or participate in one’s own defense
  • A mental or physical condition or incapacity that prevents a person from managing or carrying out their own financial and/or personal affairs
  • A condition that renders a person is incapable of entering into a contract

Incompetence can be the result of a mental disorder like psychosis, a low or deteriorating IQ, or even a physical illness or disability.

Justipedia explains Incompetence

The process that declares someone incompetent usually involves a motion for a competency hearing, a psychiatric evaluation and a competency hearing.

Different states have different laws when it comes to declaring the incompetence of a person. In some states, it is easy to file a petition to declare another person incompetent. In other states, the laws covering incompetence have a higher standard to meet.

The hearing for incompetence isn’t a typical plaintiff-against-defendant style. It follows a model where it is assumed that everybody wants the best for alleged incompetent person.

Before a person is declared incompetent by the court, it is necessary for that person or their attorney to be present.

A person who is incompetent may require a conservator or guardian to look after their affairs. This is usually arranged by the court.

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