Sometimes It’s Easy To Notice That Someone Needs Help, While Other Times It Just Seems To Creep Up On You
One day, you or a loved one is fine. The next day you notice that bills go unpaid, homes are left unlocked, medicine isn’t taken on schedule, or food burns up on the stove. If this sort of thing is happening to you or someone you know, it’s time to examine whether a guardianship order is necessary.
There are times in life when a parent, an adult, a child, or other family member needs a helping hand. Guardians sometimes are the only answer. For purposes of this blog, we will focus on adult guardianships. Without knowing how the whole process works, how will you know if you or a loved one needs a guardianship order?
As noted in a previous blog, Guardianship vs. Conservatorships, a guardian is someone who helps someone with their day-to-day life. The ward is someone who needs help, like an incapacitated adult, a minor, or a person with special needs.
To put a guardianship order in place, someone will need to file papers with the nearest probate court. After an investigation, doctor’s report, and independent legal review, the judge will decide if the ward needs a guardian. The judge must also decide who the best person is to be appointed. This may not be as easy as it seems because more than one person may want to serve. Or maybe there are no close friends or relatives and the judge must turn to an organization that provides guardianship services. Then, the guardian will have to report back to the court about the ward’s condition on an annual basis.
We can’t predict when we may start having trouble with our day-to-day activities, but we can provide our families with an alternative to an expensive guardianship proceeding.
Several estate planning documents protect an adult who becomes incapacitated:
- Health Care Power of Attorney – This power of attorney lets you name who will make medical decisions if you can’t do it.
- Mental Health Care Power of Attorney – In this document, you can address mental health care issues and appoint someone to make decisions for you.
- Living Will – You can use this document to state how you want your end of life treatments to be handled.
The Best Time To Plan For A Guardianship Is Before You Need One.
If you or someone you know needs assistance, please call us at (480) 418-8448 to discuss your options. We also offer free videos about estate planning at keystonelawfirm.com. Although our office is located in Chandler, we serve clients in surrounding communities.