If you become disabled because of a serious physical or mental condition, someone must have the authority to make the decisions about your medical and financial needs. A legal guardianship is in place so that a person’s physical and mental well-being are honored when he or she is no longer able to make sound decisions. It is a court proceeding used to appoint someone to be responsible for the personal well-being of a minor or incapacitated adult if the role has not already been assigned through an executed power of attorney. The guardianship petition seeks to have you declared as incapacitated so another person can step in and make decisions on your behalf. This person may or may not be who you would otherwise choose.
A ward is the person for whom the guardian will be appointed. The guardian must be acquainted with the ward personally and is responsible for the ward’s welfare. If the ward is a minor, the guardian takes on the responsibilities of a parent and must provide for the education, care and support for the minor. For an incapacitated adult, the guardian must ensure that the ward’s daily needs are met, such as his meals, personal hygiene and medication. The court has the discretion to limit a guardian’s powers or responsibilities as necessary.
The appointment of a guardian by a probate court can be avoided through the execution of a well-drafted and carefully executed power of attorney. For more information on how we can help you draft a power of attorney to avoid a guardianship contact our office today.