Guardianship is the area of law involved with creating a fiduciary relationship for minors or for incapacitated persons. It is akin to becoming the “parent” of another person, at least in terms of powers and responsibilities. Fiduciary is the legal term for the person invested with that power.
There are many situations that occur that may requirement a guardianship, such as:
- An elderly individual who is no longer able to care for themselves, and needs to be placed in a long-term care facility or nursing home.
- An elderly individual who is incapacitated so that they cannot avoid an abusive relationship. A guardianship would allow the fiduciary to prohibit or structure the contact between the elder individual and the abuser.
- An elderly person who is suffering from dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and needs help managing their health-care, some financial issues and other personal matters.
- A person debilitated by drug or alcohol abuse and is unable to care for themselves.
- A person who is unable to self-administer medication.
- A person who is capable of handling some of their personal matters, but not capable of handling all of their health-care decisions or manage their health-care regimen.
- A parent is not able to adequately care for their child, as a result of immaturity, difficulties with the law, or financial troubles, but only requires someone to assist in caring for their child on a temporary basis, rather than a permanent basis (in which case an adoption is the more appropriate option).
A guardianship helps in the above stated situations by giving the guardian the following powers and obligations, to assist the “protected person”:
- The guardian has the custody of the protected person.
- The guardian is obligated to provide care, comfort and maintenance of the protected person, and arranges for the training and education (when pertinent and reasonable) of the protected person.
- The guardian can consent, refuse consent, withhold and withdraw consent for health care issues.
- The guardian can make advance funeral and burial arrangements.
- The guardian controls the disposition of the remains of the protected persons.
- The guardian may make an anatomical gift of all or part of the body of the protected person.
- The guardian may receive money and personal property deliverable to the protected person and apply the money and property for the support, care and education of the protected person.
- The guardian may file a motion with the court seeking an order on the duties of the conservator relating to the payment of support for the protected person.
- The guardian may consent to the withholding or withdrawing of artificially administered nutrition and hydration for a protected person under certain medical conditions.
For more specific information relating to your unique situation, please contact our law office for assistance.