Older adults have a higher risk of suffering from severe health conditions, such as dementia, strokes or accidents. If the health conditions affect their mental capacity or ability to make crucial decisions for themselves, then a family member or friend might have to make decisions for them. This would be called adult guardianship.
Adult guardians are called conservators. When someone cannot make critical decisions regarding their personal care or finances, a court might grant adult guardianship over the person to a close relative. It is a legal process that requires an attorney to go to court and seek a judge’s approval.
Sometimes the judge might declare the conservator as the guardian of the estate only. That would mean the conservator is only allowed to make decisions regarding the individual’s finances, but not their health. A judge would have to declare the conservator as the “guardian of the person” to make decisions about the person’s medical needs.
It is not uncommon for judges to make both declarations in cases where they are incapable of managing their health or finances. It all depends on the individual’s current health status and the evidence presented to the court.
The Advantages and Disadvantages of Adult Guardianship
Does your friend or loved one require adult guardianship? If so, you’ll need to hire an attorney to establish a conservatorship for them. We know it can be a tough decision, but sometimes it is for the best.
Let’s review the advantages of adult guardianship below.
Conservators are usually close family members of the person. A family member is the most trustworthy and responsible person to handle someone else’s financial and medical decisions. You obviously wouldn’t want a stranger to have the power to control your loved one’s money. They could rob them blind and leave your loved one without any financial stability.
When someone has been legally declared as the conservator to another person, they have the clear legal authority to interact with third parties on their behalf. These third parties could be doctors, bankers, contractors, nurses, or accountants. If any major decisions must be made, a judge can approve them for the conservator.
Adult guardianship is not about restricting someone’s liberty. It is about assisting them by making sound financial and medical decisions that serve their best interests. That is why the conservator must be a trustworthy person.
Let’s review the disadvantages of adult guardianship below.
Adult guardianship is a complex legal process. You’ll need to hire an attorney to write the legal documentation and file it with the court. Then you’ll have to wait for a court hearing with a judge to oversee the case. The entire process will consume a lot of your time and money. It could also create tensions within the family.
For example, if the person is still somewhat capable of making individual decisions, they might feel humiliated to have someone else making those decisions for them. Ironically, the decision over who becomes the conservator could create feelings of anger and resentment between multiple family members.
The Alternative Solution: Home Care
If family members can agree to serve their loved one’s best interests, then hiring a home health care agency is the best possible solution. The person will receive assistance with all their basic living and medical needs at home. A qualified nurse or therapist will visit the home each day and perform the necessary services to improve their patient’s health and living conditions.
Health Care of South Florida has been serving South Floridians’ home healthcare needs for over 15 years. Give our office a call at (305) 871-3601, or contact us here to learn more information about our services.