Legal Guardianship for Adults and Children
Guardianship is established for children or adults who are unable to take care of their own basic needs and who have no person currently authorized to assume the care of these individuals. In some cases, a court may appoint a temporary guardian, as in an emergency situation. Usually, a family member will seek to be appointed guardian, and this requires a legal process to be carried out until guardianship is obtained.
Guardianship may be requested in several forms, depending on the situation, including:
- Guardianship of the person
- Guardianship of the estate
- Guardianship of the person and estate
- Temporary guardianship
Generally the process to achieve guardianship begins when the person wishing to obtain guardianship files a petition with the court. Usually, he or she will need to also present a medical affidavit or other document to establish the party’s incapacity. The court may request more information or appoint a court representative to meet with the incapacitated person before granting the guardianship petition.
Older Adult Guardianship
The need for guardianship of an aging family member can be mitigated with proper estate planning, setting up advance medical directives for health care decisions, and communicating your wishes fully to family members. Sometimes a durable power of attorney is sufficient to allow family members to make financial and other decisions on behalf of the aging relative.
Special Needs Child Guardianship
Many parents with disabled children will need to establish some form of permanent guardianship once the child reaches adulthood. Planning for Special Need children involves several steps including establishing long-term guardianship for the future and setting up financial trusts to care for the adult child’s long term care needs.
Our law practice helps families and individuals in the areas of elder adult and special needs legal and life planning needs. To get help with deciding if legal guardianship is the right decision for you and your family, and to get assistance with the process of obtaining guardianship, call our offices today for more information.