Does Your Family Member Need A Guardian?
Perhaps your loved one has become abruptly incapacitated. Perhaps you have witnessed a gradual decline and the time has come to step in. Legal intervention may be necessary if that family member did not designate powers of attorney while they were still “of sound mind and body.”
The attorneys of Kennedy, PC Law Offices have extensive experience with the guardianship process, including emergency guardianship hearings. We can help families and individuals petition the court for appointment as legal guardians of an elderly parent or a relative with special needs. Our firm assists with guardianships in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Ohio.
Our firm also assists long-term care facilities in establishing guardianships for their residents when no relatives are willing or available to fill that role.
Establishing Guardianship Of A Loved One
Guardianship is a formal legal relationship. The guardian is granted specific powers on behalf of an individual (the ward) who is deemed by a court to be mentally incompetent or otherwise incapacitated. It’s more about protecting that vulnerable person than controlling them. The guardian is in turn overseen by the probate court (Orphans’ Court or Surrogate’s Court) to ensure they are acting in the best interests of the ward.
The terminology and parameters vary from state to state, but in general there are two types of guardianship:
- Guardianship of the person — Oversight of the ward’s general welfare, including health care, hygiene, travel, support services and other personal affairs.
- Guardianship of the estate — Authority over the ward’s financial and legal affairs, including paying bills, managing investments, continuing a business, or conducting transactions such as sale of property.
The court can appoint separate individuals as guardians of the person and the estate, or vest one individual with both of those duties.
Guardianship And Long-Term Care
The need for guardianship often arises in anticipation of nursing home care or after a family member has entered skilled nursing care. Kennedy, PC Law Offices also counsels long-term care facilities, so we have key insights and strong relationships in that industry. We can advise guardians and families regarding;
- Medicaid eligibility and spenddown requirements
- Nursing home admissions agreements
- Nursing home discharge or transfer
- End-of-life decisions
- Payment disputes or claims against the ward’s estate
Contested Guardianship And Emergency Guardianship
The ward or other family members may object to the nominated guardian or the need for guardianship, or argue for limited guardianship to preserve the person’s autonomy. Our attorneys counsel and represent individuals and families in guardianship proceedings. We have also advocated on behalf of wards and their rights. Or we might get involved if the court is asked to terminate a guardianship.
The law also allows for emergency guardianship in pressing situations, such as wards who are a danger to themselves or require urgent medical treatment. A court can appoint an emergency guardian on short notice and extend the order if necessary.
We understand the urgency as well as the sensitive nature and family dynamics. We aim to protect the ward’s dignity and keep the family peace while helping our clients assert the case for guardianship.
Take The Steps To Protect Your Loved one
Whether your family member needs a guardian for financial reasons or a health crisis, Kennedy, PC Law Offices can guide you through the process. To arrange a free initial consultation with one of our lawyers, call 877-833-7100 toll free or contact us online.