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Who will serve as guardian to your child when you pass on?

Let us say you have a 19-year-old son who suffered a serious spinal injury in a car accident. He is permanently incapacitated, and you and your spouse are caring for him at home.

Lately, you have begun thinking about Jim’s future. If you and your spouse should die, who would serve as guardian for your son?

Determining guardianship

A guardianship is a judicial decision made following an investigation of an incompetent or incapacitated person and his or her needs. Legal representation for this person is the norm in such an investigation. Along with private agencies and institutions, anyone over the age of 18 can serve as a guardian as long as he or she has had no felony convictions.

The responsibilities of a guardian

As you are well aware, providing the proper care for your son is a time-consuming effort, and a future guardian must understand and manage such duties. The main responsibilities include making informed decisions about the care and wellbeing of the ward, including ensuring that he has food, shelter, medical care and any other requirement. The goal for Jim’s guardian will be to help enhance his quality of life and include him to the extent possible in the decision-making aspects of his care.

Who to choose

Jim may benefit from having a guardian who is close to his own age. A sibling may be a good candidate, or a friend willing to take on the task. Keep in mind that the court may allow some guardians not only to make personal decisions for their wards, but financial decisions as well. In addition to the regular duties they perform, guardians must present annual reports to a judge and comply with any other requirements the court may order. Thinking ahead about your son’s future is a wise idea and gives you time to decide on the best course of action with respect to his guardianship.

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