Among many other reasons, residents come to long-term care facilities for the benefits of daily assisted living and regular consultations with physicians and other qualified staff members. During their time at the facility, residents often maintain financial independence and the liberty to make major life decisions.
Unfortunately, whether through an accident or a developed condition, it is not uncommon for residents to be unable to make their financial and medical decisions on their own. When this happens, they need representatives to make their decisions for them and on behalf of their estate. This when guardianships become a necessity.
When you think of a “guardian,” you likely associate the term with a parental figure overseeing decisions for a child. But guardianships are quite common for adults who can no longer make major life decisions. In fact, it is estimated that 1.5 million adult Americans currently require a guardian for their estate. What’s more, a guardianship is mutually beneficial to the resident and to the long-term care facility. The appointed guardian will be responsible for overseeing bills and ensuring that the facility receives its regular payments.
How does the guardianship process begin?
First, someone will need to petition the court regarding the resident. This may be a relative, a government agency or a medical professional. According to the Pennsylvania statute on incapacitated persons, the petitioner may be anyone who is concerned with the welfare of the resident. The court must be presented with clear evidence that the resident is unable to make their own decisions, at which point the court will decide whether a guardianship is necessary.