Our neuropsychologists may be retained by third-parties (attorneys, private disability carriers, etc.) and individuals/families to perform forensic evaluations. In addition to our expertise in clinical neuropsychology, we have specialized training and experience in the assessment of diminished capacity, disability and civil litigation in adults over the age of 18. We do not provide child custody or parental competence evaluations.
What is a Forensic Evaluation?
The term “forensic” refers to the fact that these evaluations are conducted for legal, not medical, purposes. A clinical evaluation is based on medical necessity and is paid for by insurance companies. The information gathered in a medical evaluation is shared with other healthcare providers to guide medical decision-making. A forensic evaluation, in contrast, is being done for the purpose of establishing a legal capacity (capacity to work, change a will, manage one's finances, make important decisions, need for guardianship/conservatorship) or effect of some event (motor vehicle accident, fall, etc.). Therefore, it is unlawful for health insurance to be accepted as payment for a forensic evaluation and fees are paid out of pocket. Fees are determined by the complexity of the particular case.
We specialize in capacity evaluations including those assessing:
- Capacity to execute a durable power of attorney
- Financial capacity (ability to manage one’s own money, financial affairs and make relevant decisions while keeping in mind all possible financial-legal consequences of his/her acts)
- Testamentary capacity (ability to change/update a will)
- Independent living (need for guardianship/conservatorship)
- Undue Influence
- Ability to work
In recent years, there has been a steady increase in the assessment of capacity of older adults. This is due to a variety of influences, including the fact that the general population is aging as adults live longer. Consequently, there is a rise in the prevalence of dementia, which poses questions related to capacity. It is important to recognize that a diagnosis of dementia does not necessarily result in decreased capacity i.e. a reduced ability to make decisions on one’s behalf. There also has been increased attention on the prevalence of elder abuse and financial exploitation. Finally, families are increasingly living at a geographical distance, and gradual changes in cognitive functioning are not always apparent.
A comprehensive capacity evaluation by a clinical neuropsychologist is recognized by the court as the gold standard of protection. Our comprehensive evaluations incorporate objective data which is especially important in complex cases. Although each case is unique, we follow an established conceptual model including these ten elements when conducting a capacity evaluation:
- Identifying the applicable legal standard(s)
- Identifying and evaluating functional elements constituent to the capacity
- Determining relevant medical and psychiatric diagnoses contributing to incapacity
- Evaluating functioning through the use of standardized functional, cognitive, and behavioral assessment tools including measures of performance and symptom validity
- Considering psychiatric and/or emotional factors
- Appreciating the individual’s values
- Identifying risks related to the individual and situation
- Considering means to enhance the individual’s capacity
- Making a clinical judgment of capacity
- Sharing our results in understandable language for all stakeholders including the court/legal system, attorney, individual and family
A no-cost consultation phone appointment is offered to determine the appropriateness of evaluation for each case.
Monday - Thursday
8:30am - 5:00pm
PO Box 3991
Pinehurst, NC 28374