From the very young to the very old, sometimes a vulnerable person needs help with the everyday tasks of living, handling finances, or managing their other affairs. This is when a guardian may be helpful. The guardian is the person assigned or selected to care for the vulnerable person, usually called a ward. Guardianships are tailored to fit the needs of the ward. A Cherokee County guardianship attorney can help.
Situations For Guardianships
There are all kinds of situations where guardianships may be appropriate and necessary for the health and safety of a loved one. Consider the following scenarios.
Your grandmother, now 90, is increasingly frail. She lives alone. She has fallen in her home several times and been unable to get back up. Once she had to wait until paramedics arrived to help her get back up. Also, her memory is starting to fail. Once, she forgot the stove was on and burned a pot until it was blackened.
A niece in her mid-20s has a bad car accident. A car rear-ends her and pushes her car into a container truck in front. She suffers some brain damage and has to re-learn the daily tasks of living. She wins a large settlement as a result of the accident.
A child’s parents go away on a short trip. Their airplane crashes and leaves the child without someone to care for her. There was no will.
In each of these scenarios, the vulnerable person needs help. Sometimes, a relative can step in to take care of the person — but even if they do, there should be some checks and balances to make sure that the adult is taking care of the vulnerable person appropriately. This is precisely what happens in a guardianship.
Courts appoint guardians to make decisions for a person who lacks sufficient capacity to manage their own needs such as to food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and other necessities.
This Is Never An Easy Decision
This is often a difficult decision for a family to make. Often, the vulnerable person wants to maintain independence.
Adult relatives never want to be at odds with other family members. There is often disagreement about whether a guardian should be appointed and if so, who should be appointed.
When this comes to the court’s attention, either through a mishap or through Adult Protective Services (APS), the court will appoint a guardian of its own accord. Sometimes, the best guardian is one that the ward already knows and trusts. A Cherokee County guardianship attorney can advise you and help you find the best outcome in a difficult situation.
The Role Of A Guardian
A guardian may be appointed to take care of the person, their financial concerns, or both. When a young child has a guardian appointed, the guardian will be responsible to take care of all of their needs. This is a different legal relationship than adoption. The guardian is not a parent legally, although the guardian may develop a deep bond with their ward.
An adult may also need full care depending on the level of incapacitation involved. However, most adults have some assets to pay for their care. If they do not, a guardian may work with Social Services to ensure the adult has the assistance they need.
Once appointed, a guardian must prepare and file annual reports with the court regarding the ward’s condition and the condition of the ward’s estate (if there is one). A Tahlequah attorney who specializes in guardianships can assist you in the preparation and filing of this report.
How The Court Selects A Guardian
A guardian can be a relative, a friend, or a legally qualified specialized care professional. A court will seek a guardian who will fit the ward’s preferences and needs, and who is available and willing to fill the role.
Sometimes, estate planning attorneys will work with an adult to nominate a guardian before the need arises. If the adult has done so, the court will try to honor the nomination unless there is a good reason not to.
Sometimes, a person does not want to have a guardian appointed at all. A person who is the subject of a guardianship proceeding has some say. That person has the right to appear at the hearing and have witnesses and evidence presented on their behalf.
An individual alleged to be incapacitated may also be appointed an attorney by the court, called a “Guardian Ad Litem.”
How An Attorney Specializing In Guardianships Can Help
These are often sensitive proceedings. You want to ensure your loved ones are well cared for. That can mean ensuring the right person is appointed as a guardian. That person will have a lasting impact on their ward.
A Cherokee County guardianships attorney can provide counsel and legal representation before, during, and after the hearing. This allows you to know what to expect and to achieve the best results for you and your loved one. Make sure your guardianship proceedings will be handled in a knowledgeable, confidential, and compassionate manner. Get help today.
Free Consultation: Attorney For Guardianships In Cherokee County
For a free consultation with a Tahlequah attorney, call Wirth Law Office – Tahlequah at 918-458-2677 or toll free at 1-888-447-7262.
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