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In certain situations, a person with mental illness may lose his ability to make competent decisions. When this condition persists beyond an episode of illness, it may be helpful to consider guardianship. In order for an individual to have a guardian appointed, he must be declared incompetent by a judge. The judge makes a determination about competency based on a statement provided by a psychiatrist. If a person is deemed incompetent, a guardian is appointed. The guardian can make decisions regarding treatment or residence for the incompetent individual. These decisions should always be made with the incompetent person’s best interests in mind. Guardianship should not be taken lightly, as it is very restrictive, and essentially takes away a person’s right to make decisions for himself. If you think your relative may benefit from this arrangement, contact an attorney for further information about the process, and speak with your family member’s treatment team.