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Guardianship

What is Guardianship?

Guardianship, referred to in some states as conservatorship, is a legal proceeding when an adult can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his or her person and/or assets.

The individual may also become susceptible to fraud or undue influence, leaving them vulnerable to scam artists or identity thieves. Guardianship provides protection and cares for adults with dementia, mental illness or other mental impairments.

The Need

When a person is unable to make informed decisions for himself or herself due to a mental incapacity, whether those decisions involve health care or finances, someone else needs authority to assume responsibility for that person’s affairs. Unless someone else has pre-existing legal authority to act, the court must be asked to appoint someone to assist.

If a person cannot make his or her own informed decisions, the court will be asked to appoint a guardian or a conservator, depending on the laws of the state where the person resides or is found.

Source: National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, NAELA.org