A guardian is a person appointed by the court to take care of an adult who is physically or mentally incapacitated and cannot manage his or her affairs. These affairs include housing, food, clothing, shelter or medical care. The person appointed by the court is called ‘adult guardian’, who helps the incapacitated adult in managing personal matters.
However, if that adult still wants to retain some control over the affairs, he or she can seek a guardian advocate. Guardian advocate is less involved in the matters, unlike a full guardian.
The court appoints a guardian for the well-being of the person regardless of the needs be it financial or medical ones.
1. Acts as a Guardian of the Adult
According to the type of guardianship, the guardian usually supports the adult through different ways such as financial management, welfare, safety or the combination of all these matters. If the needs are continuous and it is in the interest of the adult, the guardian can find a new nursing home or a new house for the adult. This also depends on the adult and guardian, the certain special needs are also included in the service such as special diets, immediate needs, or medications.
Few adults are mentally impaired and thus need constant supervision. The guardian can decide to take the adult in a facility to fulfill the needs. The guardian also manages the estate to make sure it remains in a proper condition to support the adult.
One of the essential responsibilities of the guardian for an adult is to make sure the adult has a place to live in. Housing can include placing the adult somewhere other than his or her original home, or the place where the adult was living in before.
2. Acts as a Guardian of the Estate
Few guardians take care of financial affairs of the adult. This usually involves, taking care of the estate, property or assets. The guardian is responsible for filing tax, paying bills, and looks after the trust funds. The fund usually come through Social Security, retirement account or maybe other accounts that pay for such expenses.
3. Plenary Guardian
Plenary guardian is one who has all the legal powers and roles on behalf of the adult when the court decides so. This role extends to every aspect of an adult’s life such as freedom, living or fulfillment of basic needs. When the guardian places the adult in a nursing home, the housing may disappear. The risk factor in this guardianship is if the guardian takes the wrong decision, the estate of the adult may suffer or result in fraudulent real estate transactions.
Complications in Guardianship
The responsibilities of an adult guardian are legally enforceable. When the court issues an order regarding guardianship, the guardian is legally bound in fulfilling the duties imposed by the court. And in case the guardian fails to exercise these duties, he or she is held liable for the injuries and losses caused by such negligence. This can lead to a civil negligence lawsuit.
Legal Assistance in Guardianship
In case, the guardian is creating problems for the adult, it is usually difficult to remove him or her from the situation. In this case, an elder law attorney is required who can review the case and overturn the guardianship according to the severity of the matter.