When a parent, child or friend becomes incapacitated, and as a result, unable to handle their personal affairs what can you do? If that person has signed a Living Will, Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney, then in most circumstances those documents, which we call advanced directives, will allow you to address the needs of the individual without going to Court.
However, in the absence of those documents a guardianship proceeding may be required to obtain the Court’s appointment of an individual to make personal needs decisions and manage financial affairs. The person who is the subject of the proceeding, who we call the alleged incapacitated person (the AIP) may find themselves with functional disabilities for a wide variety of reasons. For example, they may have been in an accident, been disabled from birth and only recently require assistance with their financial affairs or may be suffering from a cognitive decline due to the onset of dementia.
Our firm is experienced in evaluating the circumstances of the AIP so as to seek the appointment of a guardian, whether the appointed person is the client, another family member or friend, or a person appointed from a select list of individuals maintained by the Court who are experienced in performing guardianship duties. Guardians have detailed obligations to the AIP and to the Court, including visiting periodically to evaluate and meet needs, and filing detailed reports to account for the management of assets and income.
Be assured that the Court will craft an order appointing a guardian to take into account the wishes, preferences and desires of the incapacitated person which will afford the greatest amount of independence and self-determination allowable. In other words, we will work with the Court and all interested parties to make sure that only those powers necessary to protect the personal and property interests of the AIP are granted by the Court to allow the incapacitated person’s involvement to the fullest extent possible in decisions affecting their lives.
Alternatively, this firm is also experienced in defending guardianships when the person who is the subject of the proceeding objects to the appointment of a guardian. The appointment of a guardian can result in the loss of personal independence in personal needs decisions and self-involvement in financial affairs. If you do not believe that either you or another person who is the subject of a proceeding requires a guardian, we can make sure that all of the AIP’s rights are protected, and if necessary oppose that application.