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Louisiana Attorneys Help Clients Deal With a Family Member’s Incapacity

Covington and Metairie law firm skilled at interdiction proceedings

When a person afflicted with an infirmity is consistently unable to make or communicate reasoned decisions about their property or their personal affairs, a court may appoint someone to take over some or all of those functions. This process, known as interdiction, requires complex analysis and proofs that must be handled with the utmost skill and caring. At Michael D. Conroy, PLC, we have experience representing families taking the painful but necessary action of divesting a loved one of his or her independence. With offices in Covington and Metairie, we handle interdiction matters throughout Southern Louisiana.

Deciding between full and limited interdiction

When deciding an interdiction case, judges favor the least restrictive measures necessary to protect the interests of the family member involved. Based on the recommendation of a mental health professional and other evidence, the judge may order a limited or full interdiction.

A full interdiction is ordered when a court determines that someone is incapable of consistently making decisions about his or her person and property. As a result, that person will not be capable of doing anything of legal significance, such as making a contract or will. If the determination is made that the incapability relates to decisions about either person or property or some part of either, a limited interdiction may be ordered.

Deciding whether a lack of capacity is limited in type or degree is difficult and at times is a matter of opinion. The court will always use the best interests of the interdicted person as its guiding principle.

Understanding the interdiction process

Any person may petition for interdiction in a court where the person to be interdicted lives or may be found. The petition must state:

  • Petitioner’s relationship to the defendant
  • The place petitioner proposes defendant will reside
  • The reasons why interdiction is necessary
  • If it seeks full interdiction, why limited interdiction is inadequate
  • If it seeks limited interdiction, the capacity to be removed from the defendant
  • The name and address of certain relatives of the defendant, of his or her legal representative and any previous curators
  • The name and address of the proposed curator and why he or she should be appointed.

The defendant is entitled to a hearing, though the court may grant interdiction temporarily in advance if it is necessary to protect the interdict. Once granted, a permanent interdiction may be modified or terminated if it is excessive or inadequate or when changed circumstances require a change.

Appointing curators and undercurators

When an interdiction is ordered, the court appoints a curator — a court officer similar to a guardian or conservator in other states. A curator is given authority to make the decisions the interdicted person is incapable of handling. Examples are decisions about medications and treatment, management of finances, placement in residential facilities and obtaining legal assistance if necessary.

The curator must use reasonable care, diligence and prudence to act in the best interests of the interdicted person and must file an annual report with the court. Some of these decisions might require court approval. A curator may be liable for negligent or intentional misconduct or omissions.

The court may also appoint an undercurator to make sure that the curator does his or her duty. The undercurator has complete access to the interdicted person and to the curator’s accounts and reports. He must inform the court if he or she believes that the curator has failed in his or her duty and if appropriate request that the court appoint a different curator.

Contact a lawyer you can trust

Michael D. Conroy, PLC has a tradition of serving clients throughout the greater New Orleans area, including Covington, Metairie and Kenner. We understand the need to be supportive and informative when dealing with sensitive family law issues like interdiction. To learn more about our offerings or to get your questions answered, call us at 985-606-3885 or contact us online.