Adult guardianships are an essential part of caring for loved ones who are, for one reason or another, unable to care for themselves. Under the right circumstances, a guardianship can help you make sure that your loved one never suffers due to an inability to handle their personal affairs. But when should you seek an adult guardianship for someone you love?
What is a Guardianship?
A guardianship is a court-appointed relationship where one person (known as a guardian) is given legal authority over someone else (known as a ward). The guardian is given extensive authority to manage a person’s legal, financial, and medical affairs, which allows them to do things like pay their bills, manage their finances, or provide informed consent for medical treatments and procedures. In exchange for this authority, a guardian is obligated to care for their ward, and must give regular reports to the court about their ward’s well-being and any financial transactions made with their money or assets.
What Circumstances May Lead to Needing an Adult Guardianship?
Generally speaking, most people who need an adult guardianship will fall into one of four categories:
- People with special needs who are unable to care for themselves due to chronic developmental disabilities.
- People who are unable to care for themselves due to a severe illness or injury.
- People suffering from a severe psychological ailment that prevents them from handling their personal affairs.
- Elderly people suffering from dementia or other degenerative ailments.
How Can You Avoid Needing An Adult Guardianship?
It is not always possible to avoid the need for an adult guardianship. However, if you are able to prepare enough in advance, you can avoid the need for a guardianship by creating a thorough estate plan that includes documents like a power of attorney and a healthcare proxy. With those measures in place, you can make sure you have someone to care for you without the need to go to the court to have a guardian appointed. This is important because the proceeding to obtain adult guardianship is costly and involves a trial. In addition, guardianship will typically last for the remainer for the ward’s life and the guardian will always be subject to court oversight.
What Should You Do if You Need to Apply for an Adult Guardianship?
The process of applying for an adult guardianship can be difficult and complicated. That is why you should make sure to contact a lawyer with experience handling guardianship law matters, who can assist you with your application, as well as maintaining compliance with your obligations as a legal guardian. The sooner you call, the sooner they can begin helping you and your loved one.
The Virdone Law Firm is here to assist Long Island families with all of their family law and estate law issues. We pride ourselves on providing unparalleled legal representation with a foundation in personalized client service. To learn more or schedule a consultation at our Westbury office, give us a call at (516) 570 - 3875, or visit our contact page.