When an individual begins to age, it may be time to consider taking action to obtain guardianship of the senior. With age, it may become difficult to make logical decisions that would reflect one’s best interest due to the onset of Alzheimers, Dementia, etc. If an individual becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions on their own, it is a good time to consider filing the necessary paperwork for guardianship. This will allow you to guarantee that your loved one is in good hands, as you will be responsible for making medical and financial decisions on their behalf. Since obtaining guardianship of a senior is a lengthy and challenging process, here are five commonly asked questions regarding Senior Guardianship.
- What is guardianship? Guardianship refers to individuals who have not yet had the opportunity to appoint a power of attorney for healthcare necessities or financial decisions. Typically, the individual in need of guardianship has become incapacitated and in need of a responsible person to make decisions according to the senior’s best interests. Guardianship allows the person to have a say in where the incapacitated individual lives, the type of healthcare they receive, and activities in their daily lives. On the contrary, a conservatorship grants a person the right to manage an individual’s financial assets and decisions. Oftentimes, it may be difficult to come to a consensus regarding the best time to file for guardianship and select which person should be the legal guardian.
- What does court-appointed guardian mean? This person has a court-appointed order and right to handle the incapacitated individual’s affairs. It is their responsibility to act in the individual’s best interest to benefit the incompacitated individual. Some duties a court-appointed guardian may have pertains to selling property, managing finances, making healthcare decisions, nursing home admission decisions, etc. During the hearing, the court will make a decision regarding whether the person seeking to become a guardian is the right fit for the position. In the case that more than one individual seeks to become the guardian, then one will be selected for the purpose of medical and health related decisions, while the other will be selected for financial decisions. Typically, the court would give preferance to the incapacitated individual’s family members, such as the spouse or children because these individuals are most familiar with the needs and preferences of the incapacitated senior.
- When is the proper time for a guardian to be appointed? A guardian will be appointed when the court finds it evident that the incapacitated individual is unable to make decisions for themselves. The individual is unable to make logical choices regarding their physical and mental health, as well as their financial assets. The incapacitated individual has the right to appoint an attorney in the case they feel that they do not need a guardian and can make decisions for themselves. If an individual’s health and financial assets are suffering immensely, then an emergency guardian may be selected.
- What tasks is the guardian responsible for accomplishing? In regards to making decisions on behalf of the incapacitated individual, the guardian is responsible for paying bills, managing real estate and other financial prospects, as well as deciding how finances are handled. The guardian must determine where the individual will live and must monitor their residence. Additionally, the guardian must provide consent for medical treatments and monitor non-medical services. The guardian should attempt to maximize the incapacitated individual’s freedom to the greatest extent possible in order to give them some independence. Lastly, a guardian must report to the court at least annually regarding how the incapacitated individual is doing and how the financial, as well as medical decisions are being managed.
- As a guardian, will I receive compensation for my role? Court-appointed guardians are actually subject to compensation for their work in addressing the incapacitated individual’s financial and medical needs. If the guardian is a family member, such as a spouse or a child, then the services will be free. They will most likely not charge their incapacitated loved one in regards to obtaining compensation for their work. If a private or public guardian is appointed, then they are paid directly from the incapacitated individual’s estate if they can afford the costs. The compensation amount is typically approved by the court.
For further Guardianship information please contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn at 718-333-2394 to effectively file for guardianship when your loved one becomes a senior.