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How can I deem my Father In Law mentally incompetent?

Spokane, WA |

My father in law is 54 yrs old but has suffered a life long severe alcohol problem along with suspected mental illness. It's so bad that he is now homeless and incapable of even making sound judgements on taking acre of his basic needs. He sleeps in boxes, and doesn't take his medication. He can't make simple decisions regarding shelter, food or safety. My husband and I have to "hold his hand" to even find basic services and make sure he eats. He has poor health and is Hep C positive as well as having a stint in his heart. He does not remember things and seems to repeat what he says a lot. We believe he may have some sort of alcohol-induced dementia. Is there any hope of us deeming him mentally incompetent and if so, what are the steps we can take? We have no money to pay an attorney.

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Attorney answers 2


Call social services or adult protective services concerning guardianship for him. In order to appoint a guardian, the court must find the person incapacitated. So guardianship is a 2 part procedure; 1st part is incapacitiy, 2nd part is guardianship. Your husband could file a petition to be his guardian - but that would incur costs. A public guardian or a guardian who needs pro bono credit would be a good candidate to become his guardian.


I would consider contacting DSHS Adult Protective Services to see if they would file a guardianship for him. If there are no family resources, APS might take the case.

This answer is for general informational purposes only. An attorney client relationship does not exist as a result of the answer given.

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