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How guardianships work

The courts in Indiana can establish guardianships that permit one party to make decisions on behalf of another party. Guardianships are typically established when individuals become incapacitated or disabled and unable to make decisions regarding their own welfare.

Without guardianships in place, the assets of someone who is comatose or in some other way debilitated could depreciate in value if they are not properly managed. Guardians would also be responsible for ensuring that bills, such as insurance or utilities, are paid so that excessive liabilities do not accumulate.

People who are incapacitated or have a physical or mental disability may have severe conditions that can last a long time and place significant limitations on their ability to earn a living or even express themselves verbally. In cases in which there is such a disability, it's highly likely that a combination of services and treatments will be necessary.

The scope of the authority of a guardian is limited to the powers that are needed to get done what the incapacitated or disabled person is unable to do alone. Typical guardianship powers include making sure the care the ward needs is readily available, ensuring the ward received any necessary medical and educational services, making medical and financial decisions on behalf of the ward and providing updates to the court regarding the condition of the ward.

Attorneys handling adult guardianships may work to protect the interests of clients who are concerned about what may happen if they become incapacitated or disabled. Legal counsel could help a client create durable powers of attorney or other legal documents in order to prepare for needing a guardianship.

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