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The roles and responsibilities of a guardian

It is inevitable that we will get old. And as we age, we may develop conditions and ailments that make it difficult to care for ourselves. When incapacity and disabilities plague one's life, loved ones often step in to make decisions for him or her. But what mechanism ensures that this is done properly and to one's wishes? This is where guardianship comes into play.

Guardianship is a legal tool that allows a person, usually a family member, to make decisions for you in the event that you become disabled or incapacitated. The courts are the ones that are tasked with establishing guardianship and will typically only do so in the event that a person is deemed incapacitated or disabled.

If a person suddenly cannot make health and financial decisions on their own because they were in an accident that left them incapacitated, the court will have to appoint a guardian. The exception is if the person had important estate planning documents, like a power of attorney, prepared in advance. Appointing a guardian is not only important when it comes to giving another person to make medical decisions for you, but it is also vital for the care and wellbeing of any investments and real estate that could lose value if they are not continually managed.

When mental and physical disabilities cause severe and long-term limitations, guardianship can help to encourage the ward to care for himself or herself as much as possible. In these matters, a guardianship can be as limited as needed as a means to allow the ward to continue to exercise control over is or her life.

Whether it is due to incapacitation or disability, guardians are only granted a certain amount of powers. This typically includes making sure that the ward gets proper physical and mental care, deciding how to handle the ward's finances and assets, deciding important medical questions, making sure that the ward is getting whatever education, medical treatments and other services the ward needs, and updating the court on the progress of the ward.

If you seek to be appointed as a guardian, it is important to understand the process to accomplish this. Additionally, one should understand the roles and responsibilities expected of a guardian, ensuring that they can meet these needs and obligations.

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