With adults, guardianship is a legal process used to protect an individual is not able to care for their own well-being due to a mental or disability. The legal determination is that the person is incapacitated.
When a person is found to be incapacitated and is not able to care for their personal and/or financial needs, the Court may appoint a guardian who will have the legal authority to act on behalf of the person. There are three types of guardians:
- Plenary Guardian - A Plenary Guardian is responsible for taking care of all of the personal and financial needs of the incapacitated person.
- Guardian of the Estate - A Guardian of the Estate is responsible to managing only the financial affairs of the incapacitated person.
- Guardian of the Person - A Guardian of the Person is responsible for managing the personal needs of the incapacitated person; for example, medical care and housing.
For the Court to find that a person is incapacitated and in need of a guardian, a medical professional must provide an opinion for the Court about the person's medical condition and incapacity. The law allows the doctor to submit a written report in a form similar to this:
Most often when a guardian is necessary, a family member is appointed by the Court to serve as the guardian. However, if a family member is not available, the Court may appoint a third party to act at the guardian.
If you have a family member who might be in need of a guardian, please contact me. I would be glad to discuss their situation with you and, if appropriate, represent you through the process of having a guardian appointed.