A Guardianship is a legal status granted to one individual for the benefit of the ward (the individual subject to the Guardianship). In many ways, a Guardian serves as a parental figure to a vulnerable individual. If your loved one cannot care for themselves, you can petition a court to appoint you as their Guardian.
This role is a big responsibility, and often a last resort for incapacitated adults. Our experienced attorneys at Nelson Elder Care Law can walk you through the responsibilities of a Guardian and determine if it is the right choice for you and your family. If so, a Woodstock Guardianship lawyer at our firm can help you petition a court so you can begin properly caring for your loved one.
A court may grant you Guardianship over a ward if your loved one demonstrates an inability to adequately care for themselves. In many cases, families will seek to obtain a Guardian for a loved one who is aging and experiencing dementia. However, younger adults who suffer from various mental conditions could also require the oversight of a Guardian.
Some of the indications that a Guardian is necessary will include if your loved one cannot manage their personal hygiene, fails to take their medication, is unable to communicate, or is not eating. The circumstances must be severe enough that the person’s health and safety are in jeopardy because of their condition. If you believe your family member is in need of a Guardian, you should speak to our Woodstock attorneys to learn more about how to take on this critical role.
In order for you to become your loved one’s Guardian, you will need to file a petition with the court. At least two interested parties must sign the petition. This can be either you and another interested party, or you and a doctor, to indicate that a Guardian is genuinely needed.
Once you file the petition, you will have to attend a hearing at which you must convince the court to appoint you. This requires you to present evidence supporting your case, which might include questioning witnesses. The court will also appoint an attorney who will represent the potential ward’s interests.
While you can represent yourself at the hearing, working with one of our Guardianship lawyers can help you build a strong case and effectively present your evidence to the local court.
Sometimes the person in need of Guardianship will recognize that they require assistance. In those cases, the prospective ward may choose their preferred Guardian, and the court will often agree to appoint that individual.
However, the law will allow any adult to serve as a Guardian unless that person’s interests conflict with the person for whom they should be caring. If the court must select a Guardian, the preference will be for a spouse to take on the Guardianship role. After a spouse, the court will often select an adult child of the ward, and then a parent.
Unfortunately, families do not always agree on who should take on Guardianship responsibilities for a loved one. Disagreements may lead to conflict and even litigation. When looking to appoint a Guardian, you and your family should consult with a Woodstock attorney at our firm who can help you complete the legal process without unnecessary conflict.
Taking on the role of Guardian for a loved one is a big responsibility, and selecting the right person for the job can be challenging for you and your family. Fortunately, our team at Nelson Elder Care Law has a lot of experience handling situations like yours and can help you and your family take the necessary steps to help your loved one.
If you want to become a Guardian for a loved one, contact a Woodstock Guardianship lawyer at our firm today. Allow us to help you build and present your case so that you can focus on taking care of your family.
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