It is painful and worrying to watch a loved one lose the capacity to manage his or her own affairs due to advancing age or illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, or injury.
When you feel a loved one can no longer manage his or her finances, health care, or daily decisions, it might be time to seek a guardianship. A guardian is someone who is appointed by the court make decisions for another person, called the ward, due to the ward’s incapacity. As a guardian, you can help ensure that your loved one’s basic needs are met.
Seeking a guardianship is a major step, not to the taken lightly. Guardians act under close court supervision, and a guardianship can be obtained only after a court hearing.
Our attorneys work as a team with geriatric nurses and medical specialists to identify options that can be tailored to best meet your loved one’s needs with the least disruption to the family.
Taking action while your loved one is still mentally competent, can recognize the problem and can cooperate in its resolution, increases the available options and makes them easier to implement. So do not delay in dealing with an unpleasant reality.
Many tools can be used in place of or in addition to a guardianship, including the following:
A health care directive
specifying the individual’s wishes about the course of future medical care.
Durable powers of attorney
granting decision-making powers to trusted individuals over specific matters.
One or more trust
to hold and manage property on the individual’s behalf.
Naming a Protective Payee or Representative
a person who receives specific funds (such as Social Security or Veterans’ benefits) and administers them on the individual’s behalf.
Social support programs and services
to help meet care needs, and which our team identifies.
Your last will and testament is just one part of a comprehensive estate plan. If a person dies without a Will they are said to have died “intestate” and state laws will determine how and to whom the person’s assets will be distributed. Some things you should know about wills:
A conservatorship or guardianship of the estate manages only the ward’s property and finances.
A limited guardianship gives the ability to exercise only limited, specified powers on behalf of the ward.
Plenary guardianship grants the right to exercise all the delegable legal rights and powers of the ward.
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