When Guardianship May Be Necessary
Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 22, 2015 – Many people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia eventually become unable to make informed decisions and to understand the consequences of their decisions, and a family member becomes responsible for making medical, financial and other decisions. This can often occur without court intervention, but legal guardianship may be necessary in cases where there is no power of attorney in place or when the elder refuses necessary care.
Guardianship gives a person the legal right to make decisions on behalf of someone who is unable to make their own decisions. Obtaining guardianship requires rigorous court proceedings to prove that it is the appropriate course of action for the elder.
“Although guardianship is not necessary in all cases, it is not uncommon for family members to seek guardianship if their loved one’s decisions become irrational and dangerous,” said Andrew H. Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center, with offices in Virginia Beach and northern Suffolk. “For example, an elder with Alzheimer’s may refuse necessary care while putting themselves in danger by wandering or neglecting self-care.”
In cases where a loved one is refusing care, guardianship can allow families to ensure that medical and nursing care are provided, and that the elder is living in a safe environment and is free from financial exploitation.
To obtain guardianship, the person who is seeking guardianship must prove that their loved one does not have the legal capacity to make their own decisions, and that they are qualified to serve as a competent guardian. This process can be lengthy, although in extreme cases the court may grant temporary, emergency guardianship.
Elder law attorneys have expertise in working with the courts to establish guardianship. Consulting with an elder law attorney early on in the process can help ensure that the guardianship process is as smooth and speedy as possible.