Understanding The Purpose Of Guardianship
Some families have the need to care for and make decisions for a loved one who 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 who 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.
Are There Alternatives To Guardianship?
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 advance directive for medical decisions will be necessary. This is often called a medical power of attorney.
Contact Us To Learn More About Your Family’s Legal Options
Exploring the legal option of guardianship can be an emotionally tough time for families. It can also be a confusing process. At Wernik & Salvatore, our attorneys look forward to answering your questions and helping you determine whether petitioning the court for guardianship is the right choice for your family’s circumstances. Please call 732-201-3888 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.