Appointing a Legal Guardian for the Elderly
Appointing a Legal Guardian for the Elderly
If your elderly loved one becomes incapacited and can no longer make important decisions on their own, applying for the appointment of a legal guardian may be an option.
When an elderly loved one becomes incapacited, it may become necessary to have a legal guardian appointed to help them manage their affairs. But the process of getting a legal guardian appointed for an adult can be complicated.
Despite this, it is going to be may be your only possibility, particularly if your dear did not implement an estate plan containing documents such as a power of attorney before becoming incapacited.
What is Legal Guardianship ?
Guardianship, also known as conservatorship, gives the appointed guardian the authority to make crucial decisions for the personal known as the ward over whom they have appointed.
Legal guardians are court-appointed and their authority and duties depend on the specifics outlined in the court order appointing them.
Guardianship is given for healthcare decisions, financial decisions or for both.
Courts will appoint a legal guardian for an adult if that adult is incapacitated to the degree that thay’re unable to make important decisions on their own and there is no alternatives to guardianship, such as for financial matters a living trust or for medical decisions a healthcare power of attorney.
How to get a Legal Guardian of an Adult ?
Before applying to have a guardian appointed for your elderly loved one,check the laws of the state during which they reside, as a result of the method for applying for the appointment of a legal guardian varies from state to state.
The process will involve the subsequent steps :
- Petition or application to the court, mainly the court of probate, for the appointment of a guardian.
- Notice sent to the elderly person and their relatives, to tell them that an application has been created .
- Hearing to decide whether the elderly person is unable to make crucial choice for themselves, and also to decide whether the person applying to be appointed guardian is appropriate for the role.
More steps may be involved in the process, depending on state rules and regulations, such as an investigation to determine whether legal guardianship is appropriate.
Also, state rules determine who can apply for a guardian to be appointed.
If the elderly person or a family member or a friend objects to the application, then the process can become more complicated.
The court can have to be compelled to hear proof from either side to work out whether or not a guardian oight to be appointed and whether or not the person seeking appointment as a guardian is that the right person to carry that role.
As guardianship or conservatorship takes away some or all of the legal right of the ward, courts generally view the appointment of a legal guardian as a last resort, so if an alternative is available, such as properly executed power of attorney, the court will likely not appoint a guardian.
Qualifications of a Legal Guardian
Who could also be appointed a legal guardian or conservator is additionally ruled by state laws.
Different states have requirements.
Most states need guardians to be of the age of majority and may will disqualify an applicant if they have a criminal record.
Of course, a legal guardian should not be incapacited themselves to the extent that they can’t wrestle responsibilities of guardianship.
Duties of a Guardian for the Elderly
Depending on the authority conferred by the court in appointing the guardian, the duties of a legal guardian change. For instance, the court may appoint a guardian only to manage the elderly person’s financial matters or appoint a guardian to look after the elderly person’s healthcare decisions.
Regular duties of a legal guardian for an elderly person may include :
- Determining where the elderly person will live.
- Making deçisions about the person’s healthcare.
- Implementing a money budget to take care of daily expenses.
- Arranging for in-home care or meal-delivery services.
The actual duties of any guardianship will vary, because the guardian’s duties may be further limited by the court order making the appointment.
For example, the guardian might go to acquire court approval if they feel their ward ought to be moved to an support living facility.
It is important to understand what the court order appointing the guardian permits and what is restricted.
The process of obtaining a guardian appointed for elderly loved one is each troublesome and high-priced, significantly if the old person or their relatives object to such appoinment.
Because of the complications that may arise, it is often advisable to consult an attorney experienced in guardianship matters if you feel a guardian needs to be appointed for your elderly loved one.