Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Incapacitated Definition:

An individual who lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care.

Related Terms: Incompetency, Mental Disorder, Mentally Ill, Dementia

Also sometimes referred to as incompetent or disabled.

A now outdated version of the American Uniform Probate Code (UPC) defined an incapacitated person as follows:

"Incapacitated person means any person who is impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other cause (except minority) to the extent of lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions."

Since, the definition in the UPC has changed as follows, which is also the definition used in another proposed statute by that same law reform oganization, the Uniform Guardianship and Protected Procedures Act (2009):

"Incapacitated person means an individual who, for reasons other than being a minor, is unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions to such an extent that the individual lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care, even with appropriate technological assistance."


  • Begley, Thomas and Jeffreys, Jo-Anne, Representing the Elderly Client Law and Practice (New York: Wolters Kluwer, 2010) §204 (page 2-62)
  • Uniform statutes proposed by the NCCUSL are formally hosted by PennLaw at law.upenn.edu/bll/archives/ulc/ulc.htm

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