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Establishing guardianship of someone who's incapacitated

Right now, you may have an aging parent that can no longer take care of themselves on their own. Or, you may have a child that can't support themselves after turning 18 for whatever reason. In essence, you need to take care of people unfit to live by themselves under the law. In this situation, you need guardianship.

It is important to make clear the purpose and powers of guardianship. First, guardianship is only meant to fill in the gaps of what the ward cannot do. A guardian is also not supposed to be caretakers. In other words, guardianship intends to grant as much power and freedom to the ward as possible. The guardian should only be helping where completely necessary. Some typical duties of a guardian include making final financial, medical, and educational decisions. Guardians also often ensure that the ward is taking care of themselves properly as well.

To become a guardian, one generally must be able-bodied and 18 years of age or older. The candidate also can't have a felony or misdemeanor that implies dishonesty such as a forgery or bribery. Then, they must have approval from some outside body. The preferred source is the ward themselves. The next preferred source are legal documents from before the ward's incapacitation, such as a will. The last source accepted is testimonies from family members.

If you meet the above criteria and understand the responsibilities of guardianship, then it may be in your best interests to contact a family law attorney. They may be able to help you interpret the law and guide you through the process to guardianship. In turn, they also may be able to give your loved one safety and yourself a sense of comfort.

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