It is very often to find seniors in their sunset years, due to age, are unable or mentally incapacitated to make some critical decisions that may affect their health or the wellbeing of their relatives. When it comes to healthcare matters, a guardian is usually appointed by the court to take care of nonmonetary for any individual who cannot make such decisions due to injury, illness, or disability. These may include a person in a coma, mentally challenged, or someone with a brain injury. When a person cannot make financial decisions due to mental or physical incapacitation, the court appoints a conservator to make such decisions for them. Various circumstances may require a person to seek Guardianship & Conservatorship. These circumstances include;
- A person such as a senior citizen who has all the documents in place, but everybody named in the documents is dead or not willing to help or serve
- When a person who is incapacitated has no necessary delegation documents to allow the people willing to help in taking care or making a living decision for him to do so.
- Sometimes the people trusted to take care to become exploitive and abusive
- Seniors with their advanced age are sometimes conned into paying or buying fraudulent products and services.
For one to be termed as incapacitated, there is a legal framework that is followed for one to get guardianship or conservatorship. The steps followed are;
- An interested person such as family, friends, or professional advisors, or a state court usually files the petition.
- This is followed by the appointment of a committee of physicians, social workers, and sometimes nurses, to study the extent of incapacitation. The lawyer of the victim may also appoint the committee on behalf of the person.
- When you don’t have an attorney, the court will find you an attorney for you, or the person who filed the petition can also find one to represent you.
- Each committee member will be required to meet the incapacitated individual n order to examine the situation and make an objective decision personally.
- After all the examination is done, the committee will meet and prepare a report about the mental and physical condition of the person. Every member of the committee will be required to give their independent observation.
- The elder law attorney will meet with the incapacitated individual to enlighten him about the court proceedings and ensure that they know and understand the petition.
- After preparing the report detailing the meeting with the incapacitated individual, he shall file it in court. The court will seek to know if the person understood the contents of the petition.
- The judge will consider the committee’s expertise after reviewing the petition, the findings the lawyers report. This will be followed by a hearing where the elder law attorney will represent the incapacitated individual and will not have to attend the proceedings. The judge may question all or some of the parties so that he can make a well-informed judgment.
It is important to seek an elder law attorney when someone has filed a petition that you are incapacitated. These lawyers have expertise in establishing, defending, and administrating guardianship and conservatorship. Moreover, if you have an incapacitated relative, it is best to seek such legal expertise.