Interdiction is its own area of Louisiana Law, yet one that is not understood by a lot of clients. So this brief article will attempt to explain just what it is and the procedure required to obtain a Judgment of Interdiction. Of course, the Tom Benson matter did bring the world of Interdictions to the forefront of the news media.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF INTERDICTION?
For some members of our society, legal protection may be necessary even after they have entered adulthood. These individuals may have been injured in an accident, continue to suffer from an incapacitating physical illness or psychological disorder, or because of their age, they are prevented from caring for themselves. In other words, although often it is used for the elderly, it is not uncommon to use interdiction for all age groups.
Interdiction requires Court involvement. A person – often a family member, sues the proposed interdiction advising that the person is incapable of taking care of their person, their property, or both. In my practice, clients will usually come to me so sue for Interdiction for a number of reasons, but usually it’s to gain control and access over bills and the proposed Interdicts accounts to assist in paying bills, or to assist and make medical decisions for the person, or because of immediate harm that may occur to the person to get in a position of authority over them.
CAN YOU EXPLAIN IT A LITTLE MORE? WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE INTERDICT AND THE CURATOR?
Interdiction is a legal arrangement that places an individual, known as the interdict, under the supervision of another person, called a curator. The Court will also appoint an Undercurator, who is an individual who is the watchdog over the Curator and will stand in his/her stead if the Curator can’t perform their duties. There are two main types of interdictions: interdiction over the person and interdiction over the person’s property.
A curator is typically a family member, friend, or fiduciary appointed by the court. An interdict is normally an adult who can no longer make safe and sound decisions about his or her own person or property. Additionally, a person may be interdicted who is prone to fraud or undue external influence. It all boils down to protection of the individual.
While interdiction does attempt to maintain the interdicts independence, it should only be considered in appropriate cases, as it may significantly impinge upon rights of the individual. The key legal phrase is that interdiction has to be a means of last resort and that there is no less restrictive means available.
Appointment of a curator can materially limit the rights and privileges of the interdict in areas such as:
- Choosing residence
- Providing informed consent to medical treatment
- Making end-of-life decisions
- Making property transactions
- Obtaining a driver’s license
- Owning, possessing, or carrying a firearm or other weapon
- Contracting or filing law suits
A RIGHT TO DUE PROCESS?
The Law of Louisiana makes sure to protect and safeguard the proposed interdict’s right to due process. This is done by requirements tha