Whitham Law Office
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Guardianship

What is a Guardianship?


A Guardianship is a court appointed process in which a person Petitions the Court to become someone else's Guardian. This is usually done because a person cannot take care of themselves due to a physical condition or mental health diagnosis.  We are seeing these more Petitions for Guardians as our population ages and the signs of dementia are more prevalent. 


Who can be a Guardian?


A Guardian must be over 18 years of age, not have a felony conviction or a conviction involving dishonesty, not have any claims for abuse of the elderly or involving minors. Generally, it is a relative or someone close to the person seeking the Guardianship. 


Why do you need a Guardian?


If the person is an adult, the court must be "Adjudicated Disabled Adult". This will require a medical doctor (MD or DO) to sign an Affidavit to affirm the adult needs a guardian. This Affidavit is filed with court. There may be various reasons to seek a Guardianship of another person. The person you are seeking to be a guardian for may have dementia, other mental health diagnosis, or physical diagnosis that does not allow them to take care of their basic needs. The Court's finding for a Guardian and the Appointing of a Guardian also adds a level of security to the care of the person. 


When should I consider obtaining a Guardianship?


When you begin to notice the loved one is having difficulty with every day chores or finances. You need a Guardianship if you need to protect the person from Financial Exploitation or other abuse. You may need to keep other family members from taking advantage of the person. You will need something more concrete than a Power of Attorney.