Sometimes a family member becomes incapacitated by physical or mental illness and needs assistance with decision-making, either about medical or life decisions, financial management, or both. Where the individual has not made prior arrangements for a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy, or where the person appointed is unable or unwilling to serve, the court may appoint a Guardian or Conservator. Most often, people who seek such appointments are spouses, adult children, or other family members with the time and ability to serve in this capacity.
Another instance where a Guardian may be needed is where the parents of a minor child are unable to care for their child, either temporarily or permanently, such as due to physical or mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, abandonment or incarceration. Any capable adult may seek appointment as a Guardian of a Minor, but is most often a grandparent or other close relative whom the child knows well.
The process by which a Guardian or Conservator is appointed is designed primarily to protect the interests of the person in need of assistance. There are various safeguards in place to ensure this protection, which can make the process somewhat cumbersome for the prospective Guardian or Conservator. Please call or email to learn more about our family law services.