A guardianship becomes necessary when there is no designated and/or legally authorized person available to step in and assist an incapacitated person who needs help managing the everyday physical, medical, and financial activities of life.
The need for a guardianship is usually the result of unforeseen circumstances, for example, when an individual becomes unexpectedly incapacitated or disabled without having an adequate estate plan in place. For those who have an estate plan, the Durable Power of Attorney, drafted to provide accountability and assistance, will usually eliminate the necessity for a guardianship.
Guardianship is a legal process in which the Superior Court is petitioned to determine if a person is incompetent or incapacitated, and if so, to determine who should be appointed as guardian of the estate and/or person of the incompetent or incapacitated individual. A family member or even a concerned friend could petition the court to appoint a guardian for someone who is finding it more and more difficult to care for themselves.
Generally, a guardian's responsibility includes the care, custody and control of the individual and their finances while considering and respecting his/her preferences. Guardianship of the person and/or the estate can be limited in a manner that the Court determines to be appropriate. A law office consultation can help an individual or family determine whether or not a guardianship may be necessary to protect a family member.
If you are concerned about an adult or child who will need a representative, or if you want to offer to serve as a Guardian for a relative or friend, it is important that you fully understand the responsibilities involved.
Contact our office to arrange a consultation with one of our firm's lawyers.