If loved ones suddenly become unable to make their own decisions, you might need to step in on their behalf.
Sometimes, a loved one needs someone else to make the call.
Though we strive to help our clients stay out of guardianship court through the use of powers of attorney and healthcare documents, sometimes guardianship court cannot be avoided.
A guardianship might become necessary in two distinct circumstances. First and most obvious, a person fails to plan ahead and neglects to execute power-of-attorney documents. Later, an injury or illness renders that person unable to manage their own affairs or to sign power-of-attorney documents. The family is often left with no option but to file for a court-appointed guardian.
Second and perhaps less obvious, a person has planned ahead by executing appropriate power-of-attorney documents. But the designated agent must understand that an agent cannot act directly against the wishes of the person who granted the authority under the power-of-attorney documents. In other words, a child who is power of attorney for a parent cannot force that parent to receive medical treatment he or she might be refusing, even when that refusal might be a result of dementia and even when that refusal is detrimental to the health and safety of the parent. In that case, only a court-appointed guardian can obtain treatment for the parent against the parent’s wishes.
At The Elrod Firm, we view guardianship court as a last resort and we always do all we can to help our clients avoid it. In cases where guardianship court cannot be avoided, we strive to make the process easier than anticipated.
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