A guardianship is a legal proceeding in which a guardian exercises the legal rights of a ward. It is started by filing a document asking the Judge to appoint someone to look out for the welfare of award (someone who can’t take care of themselves).
WHY ESTABLISH A GUARDIANSHIP?
So that a loved one will receive the care they need and if they wander off, the authorities can be alerted to return the person to the proper facility. Also, if there are assets that are in the ward’s name only such as a car or bank accounts, or if there is real estate, and if there is no valid power of attorney in force, then a Guardianship will be necessary to obtain access to those assets. If the person suffered an injury at work or as the result of someone else’s mistake, then in order to settle a claim or lawsuit a Guardian often must be appointed to make sure the Ward is getting a fair deal.
The Eldercare Locator lists "10 warning signs" to help families and older Americans determine if help is needed.
Has your family member:
Changed eating habits within the last year resulting in weight loss, having no appetite, or missed meals?
Neglected personal hygiene resulting in wearing dirty clothes, body odor, bad breath, neglected nails and teeth, sores on the skin?
Neglected their home so it is not as clean or sanitary as you remember growing up?
Exhibited inappropriate behavior by being unusually loud or quiet, paranoid, agitated, making phone calls at all hours?
Changed relationship patterns such that friends and neighbors have expressed concerns?
Had physical problems such as burns or injury marks resulting from general weakness, forgetfulness, or possible misuse of alcohol or prescribed medications?
Decreased or stopped participating in activities that were previously important to them such as bridge or a book club, dining with friends, or attending religious services?
Exhibited forgetfulness resulting in unopened mail, piling newspapers, not filling their prescriptions, or missed appointments?
Mishandled finances such as not paying bills, losing money, paying bills twice or more, or hiding money?
Made unusual purchases such as buying more than one magazine subscription of the same magazine, entered an unusual amount of contests, increased usage of purchasing from television advertisements?