Guardianship is a legal relationship under which a person or agency (the “guardian”) is appointed by a court to make decisions and act on behalf of another person (the “ward”).
This ability to act is for either the ward’s personal or financial affairs and is granted to the guardian because the ward, due to a specific mental or physical impairment, lacks sufficient capacity to make or communicate important decisions. These decisions may be relative to her person, family, or property (the “person”) or to her personal or financial affairs (the “estate”).
Guardianship is not the first choice … you should work to identify other alternatives, including Powers of Attorney, Trusts, and other contractual agreements. If there is no suitable alternative, especially if the proposed ward lacks competency to agree to these actions, then a guardianship might be the only choice.
Capacity to make decisions may vary from time of day to different days, and might affect different decisions. For example, a person might be able to make a will, but not be able to decide how to spend money in their checking account. We can help you decide what decision making capacity your loved one has, and how best to help her work with the family to protect herself and her interests.
If you do not have valid Powers of Attorney, please talk to us about your options, including guardianship.
In an Emergency
If the situation is an emergency, we can often help you arrange a very prompt hearing to assign a temporary guardian while the issues are decided in court. If your loved one is being abused or is in danger, you should also consider contacting appropriate individuals in charge at your facility, Adult Protective Services, or local law enforcement.
Call us for peace of mind, and to understand the important role of the Guardianship. We can also discuss the need to have a current, valid, recorded power of attorney!
If you are a new guardian or trustee and want to understand the role and what you have to do while a guardian or trustee, please contact us for specialized training.
In most cases, we discuss your concerns and help you find the right attorney for the petition for guardianship. This is a specialized area of law and it is very important to have experts assist you. We are very knowledgeable in Elder Law, but not in guardianship … for this reason we work with you and your guardianship attorney for the best possible outcome on all aspects of your case.