Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guardianship Court & Seniors


Guardianship court is a court that administers court proceedings for adult disabled persons that are incapacitated. Seniors are living longer and health difficulties such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are affecting are friends and family.
Incapacity is when one is unable to understand the consequences of making financial or healthcare decisions for oneself. When our loved ones fail to designate individuals to manage their healthcare and financial decisions, a court called Guardianship court must make those decisions for disabled adults.
First, Guardianship court must determine whether a person has the capacity to make his or her own decisions. Typically, Guardianship court requires a physician to give their professional recommendation on a court form, which ask the physician several questions regarding a person’s ability to make healthcare and financial decisions.
Too often, we hear stories about how somebody we know or in our family have been deceived out of their real estate or money. Often times, seniors rely on close relatives when they make important financial decisions. In several instances, our family members breach our trust. One of the purposes behind guardianship court is to find a responsible adult that will manage your loved one’s finances and healthcare decisions.
In many states, a guardian consists of two types of guardian: guardian of the person and guardian of the estate. Guardian of the person is responsible for making healthcare decisions. In contrasts, the guardian of the estate assumes responsibility for making financial decisions. Guardianship court manages Guardians and makes sure Guardians are accountable for their handling of a person’s finances and healthcare decisions.
Guardianship court involves a lot of emotion and often times family’s conflict against one another. There are several documents, which can reduce family conflict. First, a power of attorney for healthcare is one of these documents and it states a person’s desire regarding healthcare choices such as whether they want blood transfusions or want to be resuscitated.
More importantly, a person designates an agent, which acts when they lack the ability to make their own healthcare choices and informs the agent how they desire their healthcare decisions to be made. Often times, families want their agent to consult with the patient’s physician and family before making important healthcare decisions.
The second important document is a power of attorney for property. A power of attorney for property chooses an agent (a person) that is responsible for managing their healthcare decisions.
In conclusion, a power of attorney for property and healthcare are important legal documents, which decrease the likelihood of family conflict and assist a senior.

Sean Robertson can be reached at 312-498-6080 or RobertsonLawGroup@gmail.com.