GSB Vol. 17, NO. 7, Pg. 54. Office of the General Counsel.

Authorby Paula Frederick

Georgia Bar Journal

Volume 17.

GSB Vol. 17, NO. 7, Pg. 54.

Office of the General Counsel

GSB JournalVol. 17, NO. 7June 2012Office of the General CounselDealing with Incapacitated Clientsby Paula FrederickI'm worried about Mrs. Franco," your paralegal says as she enters your office. "She called today to ask when you were going to meet to go over her complaint."

"Huh?" you ask. "Didn't we do that last week?"

"That's the point," your paralegal responds. "She had forgotten all about it. Haven't you noticed that she isn't as sharp as she used to be?"

"Well, I guess it's not a good sign that she fell prey to that financial fraud scheme," you admit. "But it didn't take her long to realize she had been scammed, and she was sharp enough to hire us to straighten things out."

"Last week was different, though," you recall. "She didn't seem to understand what it is we're trying to do with the lawsuit; I had to explain it all over again. I almost lost my patience with her because she asked the same questions a dozen times. I just figured she was distracted."

"Did you know her son Cory dropped her off for the appointment last week?" your paralegal asks. "He says she doesn't like to drive anymore; she's been nervous ever since she got lost going home from the mall. Maybe we should call Cory; we can ask if he has noticed any change in her behavior."

"Aw, come on!" you protest. "We can't call our client's son to ask if he thinks his mother is losing it! He'll slap her in a nursing home so fast her head will spin!

Besides-I don't think she's incapacitated, she's just a little forgetful."

"What if you're wrong? You're a lawyer, not a psychiatrist," your paralegal points out. "You may be a good judge of people, but you are not an expert in detecting and diagnosing early onset Alzheimer's."

Good point. What should a lawyer do when she suspects that her client suffers from...

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