Guardianship

Some families have the need to care for and make decisions for a loved one that is unable to make his or her own decisions. The legal question to be answered to determine whether a person needs a guardian is whether that person lacks the ability to govern and manage his or her own affairs. A Guardian can only be appointed by a Court. A Guardian makes all decisions for the person under the Guardianship. This includes medical care and treatment, decisions regarding finances and just day to day living. To become a Guardian you must make an application to the Court demonstrating that the person lacks the capacity to manage his or her own affairs. The application must contain certifications of two doctors or a doctor and psychologist that states why a Guardian should be appointed. The Court will also appoint a lawyer to represent the interests of the person over whom you wish to obtain Guardianship. The Court will then schedule the matter for a hearing and make a determination on the appointment of a Guardian.

If the person has the capacity to give informed consent a Durable Power of Attorney could be an alternative to Guardianship. A Durable Power of Attorney allows the agent (the one with the power) to conduct business and make all decisions regarding the financial interest of the other person. Regarding the power to make medical decisions for an incapacitated person a Living Will also known as an Advanced Directive for Medical Decisions will be necessary. This is often called a Medical Power of Attorney.

Please Contact the attorney at Wernik & Salvatore to discuss your options.