In the Due Process in Competence Determinations Act, the legislature states that a person who has a mental or physical disorder may still be capable of performing a variety of actions with legal consequences. Accordingly, the Act’s purpose is to ensure that a judicial determination that a person should be deemed to lack the legal capacity to perform a specific act be based on evidence of a deficit in one or more of the person’s mental functions rather than on a diagnosis of the person’s mental or physical disorder.
The Act applies to determinations that a person is of unsound mind or lacks the capacity to make a decision or do a certain act, expressly including the incapacity to contract, make a conveyance, marry, make medical decisions, vote, or execute wills or trusts.
This legislation had its origins in efforts to set limits on competence determinations in conservatorships and other protective proceedings. There is, however, nothing in the Act that prevents its application in will and trust contests and, as noted above, it expressly applies to the actions underlying such proceedings.