Today, many of our family members and loved ones are living longer, and as such, there has been a dramatic increase in the need for the appointment of an agent or guardian to assist those individuals with their care or finances. Often times, an elderly individual’s mental or physical well-being deteriorates rapidly or overtime but goes untreated or undiagnosed, thereby necessitating the appointment of guardian. If the onset is gradual, the need for a guardian can often be eliminated by having an individual appointed as an attorney-in-fact for the elderly individual’s finances or healthcare.
This is accomplished through the drafting of a durable power of attorney and a healthcare power of attorney. These documents are frequently drafted by our firm as a part of our estate planning services and such documents typically preempt the need for a guardianship. Where, however, a guardianship is required, due to the sudden incapacity of a loved one or the failure to appoint an attorney-in-fact, our firm is committed to handling the process properly and with the sensitivity that is often necessary minimize the impact of the guardianship process on the incapacitated person. Our attorneys routinely handle guardianship matters and are often appointed by the courts to act as counsel for alleged incapacitated individuals. It is this experience, as well as a commitment to the individual and his family, that we bring to each guardianship matter we handle.
In certain circumstances, a contested guardianship matter may arise. Often such matters occur, where a parent does not recognize their mental decline and refuses the assistance of a loved one. Contested guardianships also arise where there is a dispute among the children of an incapacitated person as to who will serve as guardian for their aging parent. Where the dispute occurs between the children it can often be accompanied by claims that one child has unduly influenced their parent or has stolen monies from them. This scenario can also arise where a new spouse or caregiver is involved.
No matter what type of situation confronts you, our attorneys can properly advise you as to your rights and litigate, if necessary, any issue which may arise in a contested guardianship matter. We are experienced in negotiating thoughtful resolutions between family members where the parent’s interests are the primary concern of all those involved. Where, however, an individual’s motives are suspect, we have the knowledge and litigation expertise to quickly move before the Court and seek restraints in order to limit or prevent the further depletion of an incapacitated person’s assets.
As noted, uncontested guardianships often arise where an illness goes undiagnosed or is the result of a sudden onset. The need for an uncontested guardianship proceeding can also arise where a disabled child is reaching the age of majority and is thus no longer presumed to be a ward of a parent. In all of these circumstances, our attorneys are cognizant of the emotional impact a guardianship proceeding may have on the incapacitated person, as well as the financial costs associated therewith. As such, our attorneys seek to resolve these matters in a timely and cost-efficient manner. We strive to listen to the concerns of those involved and attempt to minimize the impact of such proceeding on the mental or physical well being of the incapacitated person. In addition, our law firm works closely with other attorneys who can assist family members in locating appropriate care facilities, when necessary, as well as addressing Medicaid issues or applying for benefits through Veterans Affairs.
To discuss any guardianship issue which is impacting you or a loved one, please feel free to contact an attorney at our office by calling (856) 663-6700, or emailing our office by selecting the “Contact Us” page.