In some instances, elderly people sometimes lose the ability to think rationally and make meaningful decisions. If your loved one loses the ability to think rationally in terms of decisions affecting their social life, finances and general well-being, then guardianship is your next big option. Ordinarily, guardianship takes place when an individual being taken care of has not appointed a power of attorney. The attorney would normally step in when the elderly person is incapacitated as a result of advanced age. Before guardianship can be declared, the individual petitioning for conservatorship or guardianship must prove to the court that person that needs care-also known as a ward-is incompetent based on expert findings. Once the person is declared incompetent by the court, the responsibility of financial, living and medical decisions are transferred to the petitioner. One would ask why enrolling the elder person to an elder care facility is not an option. Everything comes down to the petitioner. In most cases, the process of guardianship takes a lot of time and resources. If the family members do not come into an agreement on who should be the guardian, the process can be painful and costly.
How is Guardianship Undertaken
Most people tend to consider elder care planning in advance such that there are no issues thereafter. Since there are many elder care solutions available, guardianship is only one part of such long term care plans for the elderly. Ordinarily, the court appoints a person to act as a guardian for an incapacitated individual. However, guardians are expected to act under full fiduciary duty and the best interest of the ward. Sadly, guardianship also denies the ward the independence to make many decisions since most of them have to be made on their behalf. Some of the decisions that guardians are mandated to do include: making healthcare decisions for the ward, managing finances, make property sale decisions and arranging patient care advocacy. During court proceedings, it is the court that decides who should be appointed a guardian. In the event that there is more than one person seeking guardianship, then the court decides on the best suited person for the job. The ward’s preference is also a determining factor when choosing a guardian. In most states, the responsibility of guardianship is given to close family members or the person who is most familiar with the ward’s unique needs. In the event that there is no close family member who is willing to act as a guardian, then a public guardian can be appointed.
What are the Responsibility of a Guardian
Depending on the level of incapacitation, guardians are mandated to among other things: determine the living arrangement of the elderly person, provide medical assistance consent, manage real estate interests on behalf of the ward, pay any form of bills, decide how personal and business finances will be spent, keep records of all expenditure and monitor the general well-being of the ward. A good care guardian or adult guardian is able to carry out all these responsibilities. Since elder care service need prudence and careful consideration, the guardian must always seek the input of the ward or act as directed by the courts before making any decision. Incapacitation does not entirely mean that the wards cannot have any meaningful input regarding decisions affecting their lives. This is the reason why guardians can either be accorded broad or lean authority in decision making. In some guardianship cases, the courts can decide to distribute the burden of responsibility to several parties. For example, a bank trustee can be appointed to oversee financial decision while a close family member is given the responsibility to oversee personal financial decisions. The court will then require regular updates regarding the financial decisions made over a duration of time.
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