Is Guardianship The Answer?
Guardianship is a court-appointed legal authority to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward. The law uses guardianship as a legal remedy in several ways:
- Caring for a senior citizen or adult who is suffering from a debilitating illness such as dementia and can no longer take care of their affairs
- Guardianship of a child
- Guardianship of a developmentally disabled adult
- Caring for a severely injured adult unable to make their own decision due to a severe accident
- When a court declares a person incompetent and removes their right to make their own decisions
Guardianship may become necessary for individuals who have suffered an incapacitating physical or mental illness or injury. It is also an important consideration regarding the rights of minors when a parent can no longer act on behalf of the child. Minor children may require guardianship due to abandonment, incapacity or death of the parent.
Who Can Be A Legal Guardian?
A guardian can be a relative, a friend or a court-appointed fiduciary. A guardianship can grant a legal guardian the power to manage a person’s finances, manage a person’s property and even make crucial health care decisions. The responsibilities of the guardian can range from managing finances to making critical health care decisions. The two main types of guardianship are guardianship of the person and guardianship of the property. It is up to the court whether to grant one or both types of guardianship – property or medical – to a legal guardian. Any guardian appointed by the court will be required to submit annual reports.
Guardianship For Incapacitated Seniors
Courts often name adult children or another close relative as a guardian of an aging parent or loved one. There are many reasons why a guardian might be required, including becoming incapacitated, such as after a stroke. Other medical issues might not be so immediate or as manifest, such as the beginning stages of dementia.
Senior citizens are often the target for scams, con artists or unscrupulous financial advisers – those who are adept at exploiting those that cannot defend themselves. In cases like these, a guardianship proceeding may be initiated even without the consent of the potential ward.
These are difficult decisions to make as our loved ones age and are no longer be able to care for themselves. We will explain the law and work with you to help decide on the best course of action.
Guardianship Of A Developmentally Disabled Adult
Once a person reaches the age of majority, the law says they have the right and authority to make all legal, medical and financial decisions on their own. Unfortunately, for many families, they have children with severe issues, whether related to issues from birth or a serious medical condition, or due to a severe and debilitating accident. As adults, people suffering from any of these conditions will not be able to care for themselves and might never be able to.
A legal guardian will need to be appointed by the courts to grant the rights that the individual is unable to delegate on their own.
Guardianship Of A Child
While a child’s parents are their natural guardians and can make all decisions for them while they are minors, there are times when the parents are not able to fulfill this role. They might not be able to act as parents due to some form of incapacitation or untimely death. Whether the parents have named a legal guardian in their will or the court appoints one, the guardianship order will come from the court.
Guardianship Of An Incapacitated Adult
It is unfortunate when an adult suffers an accident or some form of disabling incident where they are no longer able to care for or make decisions for themselves. When this happens, and the adult has minor children they are caring for, the issues of guardianship becomes more complex.
Speak To An Attorney About Guardianship
We look forward to answering your questions and helping you protect the interests of your loved ones. Call our office at 631-840-6580 to schedule an appointment. From our offices in Babylon and Garden City, we represent clients throughout Long Island, the Five Boroughs, Suffolk County and the surrounding areas.