If your loved one does not have the capacity to make decisions or manage their affairs, you may want to consider guardianship. The court can appoint a guardian who will have responsibility for their personal, medical, financial and legal needs.
Guardianship overview and petition
There are several situations where your loved one may need a guardian. These include cognitive decline, developmental disabilities and serious mental illnesses that impair their ability to care for themselves or make informed decisions.
If your loved one was in an accident that caused a traumatic brain injury, a coma or has another serious medical condition that left them unable to complete functions of daily living and are incapacitated, they may need a temporary or permanent guardian.
The first step is to file a petition for guardianship and include information about your loved one’s needs. The court may appoint an attorney to advocate for their needs during the guardianship process and may request reports from a committee about their mental and physical condition.
The court will hold a hearing and all interested parties must be notified, including your loved one. If the court decides to appoint a guardian, it may be a family member, friend or a professional guardian. The guardian’s power is limited by the court, and the guardian must make decisions that are in your loved one’s best interest. The guardian will also have to regularly update the court.
In some situations, it may be appropriate to petition the court for a preneed guardianship, which is granted when your loved one is not incapacitated but may be in the future. It is used as a planning tool and may require professional guidance.