When a loved one becomes ill or indisposed due to age, this can present family members with difficult choices. Also known as a conservatorship, adult guardianship is a legal tool that a person can use to take care of a loved one with dementia or cognitive impairment.
Conservators are legally empowered to make life-changing decisions for impaired family members. These decisions affect how elders live, access their finances and receive medical care. After undergoing adequate screening from legal authorities, conservators receive wide latitude in organizing the affairs of their charges.
To set up a conservatorship for a loved one, an individual generally needs to file the proper legal papers and schedule a courtroom hearing with a judge. Before appointing adult guardians, judges may expect to see concrete evidence of physical or intellectual impairment. A judge might refuse to establish an adult guardian if the guardianship interferes with an existing legal instrument like a power of attorney or a living will. During this process, the law may require that relevant family members are contacted so that they can have their say in the matter.
Taking care of ill loved ones is an important responsibility. When one is concerned about a relative's ability to make cogent choices, establishing a conservatorship may resolve a lot of doubts and fears. Contacting an experienced attorney handling adult guardianships may be the first step toward navigating this process successfully. Often, people are overwhelmed by the complexity of legal matters like establishing adult guardianships. With an attorney at hand to explain the issues involved, individuals might find clarity and new strength of purpose. Loved ones should take advantage of all available tools when engaged in a salutary effort to protect a family member facing disability or intellectual impairment.