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  • Nicole J. Zuvich

Concerned about a loved one? Guardianship might be appropriate

Updated: Sep 27

We all hope that our parents will stay mentally healthy for their entire lives, but the sad truth is that oftentimes our loved ones slowly start to lose their mental capacity. It can be extraordinarily painful to see a loved one slowly succumb to a disease like Alzheimer’s. Making matters worse is the fact that these individuals often can’t take care of themselves, which puts them in a dire predicament as far as making the medical and financial decisions that are right for them.

Thinking About Guardianship

If you have a loved one in this situation, then you might want to consider whether seeking guardianship over him or her is best. If you’re named guardian, then you’ll be tasked with several responsibilities, which essentially boil down to you having care for the person and his or her property. Guardianship over a person and guardianship over his or her property are two separate legal issues that must be addressed individually. Even if granted, a guardianship can be limited in a way that the court sees fit.

Guardianship Over A Person

By obtaining guardianship over a person, you are allowed to make personal decisions on his or her behalf. This means that you can decide where he or she will live, what kind of medical treatment he or she will receive, and even whether clothing should be purchased and what kind. This can be a pretty broad power giving you a lot of responsibility.

Guardianship Over Property

If you’re given guardianship over someone’s property, then you’ll have the ability to make financial decisions on his or her behalf. This can include managing income, paying debts and other bills, and making investment decisions. It’s important to note here that you have to make decisions that are in the ward’s best interests and not your own.

This is a very basic overlook of the guardianship process. As a guardian you have a lot of responsibilities to both your ward and to the court. But don’t let that burden be off-putting. If you know someone who truly needs someone to look out for them and their best interests, then it might be time to speak to an attorney more in-depth about the guardianship process and exactly what it entails.

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