The best interests standard for incompetent or incapacitated persons of all ages

J Law Med Ethics. 2007 Spring;35(1):187-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-720X.2007.00123.x.


When making decisions for adults who lack decision-making capacity and have no discernable preferences, widespread support exists for using the Best Interests Standard. This policy appeals to adults and is compatible with many important recommendations for persons facing end-of-life choices. Common objections to the policy are discussed as well as different meanings of this Standard identified, such as using it to express goals or ideals and to make practical decisions incorporating what reasonable persons would want. For reasons of consistency, fairness, and compassion, this standard should be used for all incapacitated persons.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benchmarking / ethics
  • Benchmarking / standards*
  • Bioethics*
  • Child
  • Decision Making / ethics*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mental Competency / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • United States