When a loved one cannot take care of themselves or make their own decisions, guardianship can be an indispensable legal tool. Guardianships are typically set up for those who cannot make independent legal or personal choices, such as minor children, an elder parent with declining health or an adult with special needs.
Because a legal guardian has the right to make crucial decisions on behalf of their loved one, establishing guardianship can be a highly complex and emotional process. A court must determine if guardianship is both necessary and appropriate for you to assume accountability for your loved one’s well-being. Here’s everything you need to know about when establishing a guardianship may be your best option.
When to consider a guardianship
Generally speaking, guardianship may be necessary if you have a loved one who requires help caring for themselves and managing their affairs. When it comes to adults, the court will often grant guardianship if the individual is incapacitated and needs help with everyday tasks. Common examples of incapacitation include:
- A chronic illness or disease that leads to incapacitation
- An unexpected and sudden illness
- A person with disabilities requiring ongoing care as they reach adulthood
- An adult who exhibits behavior that they could harm themselves or others.
It’s not uncommon for parents of minor children to name a guardian of their preference for their kids in their will if something happens to them. There are also cases in which a minor child has no adult or family member to make decisions on their behalf, in which case you can ask the court to appoint a guardian for the minor.
Ultimately, the most important duty of a legal guardian is acting in the best interests of the person they are caring for. If you wish to pursue guardianship for a family member or loved one, an attorney can help you navigate the process and get peace of mind.