An illnesses or incapacitating injury can upend the life not just of the victim but also of family members and loved ones. When any person is sick or hurt and cannot act of his own accord any longer, difficult decisions must be made on medical care. The incapacitated person’s personal wealth and assets could also be in grave jeopardy of being lost when there is no one to take control over managing this property.
There are legal processes in place to allow family members or friends to assume decision-making authority and to take on the responsibility of caring for a loved one. Guardianship and conservatorship are the processes by which one person can be vested with the authority to act on behalf of another.
The Potter Law Firm can provide help when guardianship or conservatorship may be needed and can also offer assistance in planning ahead for incapacity. Give us a call at (704) 944-3245 for assistance in North Carolina or (606)-324-5516 or (859) 372-6655 for help in Kentucky to find out how our legal team can assist you with guardianship and conservatorship and to get answers to questions including:
- When is guardianship or conservatorship needed?
- How does an attorney help when guardianship or conservatorship is required?
- What can a guardianship lawyer do for your family?
When is Guardianship or Conservatorship Needed?
If a person is not able to do things like pay bills, make decisions on property, sign contracts, or secure appropriate medical care, someone has to be chosen to do those things on behalf of the individual who cannot act on his own.
Children, for example, cannot make their own decisions and don’t have autonomy under the law because they are not considered mature enough to act on their own accord. Adults with serious physical or mental illnesses may also not be able to manage their own affairs or make their own choices.
If an adult becomes unable to act autonomously or to manage his affairs, guardianship proceedings may need be initiated by a friend or family member. This will not be necessary if advanced plans have been made by the person who is now incapacitated. For example, if a durable power of attorney was created, no guardianship proceedings should be needed as the chosen agent can simply take over acting on behalf of the adult who created the power of attorney and who is now not able to act of his own accord.
Unfortunately, far too many people don’t have an incapacity plan and their loved ones are forced into guardianship proceedings when illness or injury strikes.
During guardianship proceedings, a probate court determines if incapacity actually does prevent autonomous action. If illness or injury have made expressing or communicating decisions impossible, the incapacitated person will be declared a ward and a guardian or conservator will be appointed. The guardian or conservator will act, under the court’s supervision, to manage the ward’s affairs.
How Does an Attorney Help When You Need Guardianship or Conservatorship?
An experienced attorney can provide assistance when incapacity necessitates guardianship or conservatorship. If you believe your loved one has lost the ability to manage his own affairs, you can talk with The Potter Law Firm. We can help you to determine if you have a good case for the person to be declared a ward due to incapacity.
Our legal team will assist you in proving that the individual who you are seeking guardianship for is, in fact, not able to act on his own. Sometimes, convincing the court a guardian is needed is a straight forward process because the incapacitated person is clearly unable or unfit to act on his own. In other situations, such as a request for guardianship of a mentally ill person, it is less clear whether incapacity actually does justify the appointment of a guardian.
If the court decides someone should be declared a ward, our legal team can also help family or friends to make convincing arguments regarding who is best suited to be guardian, and can guide a chosen guardian in fulfilling his duties under the law.
What can a Guardianship lawyer do For Your Family?
The Potter Law Firm has helped many families to make incapacity plans so guardianship or conservatorship is not needed at a time of incapacity. Our legal team also provides comprehensive assistance in incapacity proceedings, and advises guardians or conservators in fulfilling their role. Give us a call to find out more about personalized assistance we can offer you. You can also contact us online to talk with a guardianship or conservatorship lawyer and find out how we can help.