Ask Our Pittsburgh Estate Planning Lawyers About Adult Guardianship
Witnessing a loved one begin to lose their ability to comprehend and communicate clearly is one of the most difficult experiences anyone may have to endure. It is as if he or she is witnessing their family member slowly being taken away from them. There are important matters to consider when this becomes a serious condition because the person’s affairs and finances will begin suffering from lack of attention and proper care as the conditions worsen.
When you believe that a family member has become unable to adequately handle their own personal and financial affairs, you can care for them by taking the responsibility over those matters yourself. This is done by becoming an adult guardianship. In Pennsylvania, adult guardianship is granted in order to protect the affairs of someone who has been deemed incapable, either mentally or physically. Legal guardianship, which is referred to as conservatorship in other states, allows one to make important decisions on behalf of someone who has become incapacitated either by old age or medical condition. Adult guardianships often involve a subject who is in a coma, has suffered serious brain injury or is struggling with advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
How can I become an adult guardian?
If an individual has not established their plans for the future through power of attorney, then it is possible for any member of the family or person with vested interests to apply for guardianship. They may do so by filing a petition with the local County Court of Common Pleas, claiming that the individual named in the petition is unable to handle his or her own affairs. That individual will then be notified of this petition and the date of the hearing.
The subject of guardianship, who is allegedly incapacitated, has the right to an attorney at the hearing where the judge will determine whether he or she is actually incapable of handling the responsibilities requested in the petition any longer. If the court determines incapacity, then the next step will be to appoint a guardian for the individual and his or her estate.
If and when you are named the guardian over your family member and the estate, you will be authorized to handle all of the affair and assets regarding the financial estate and even personal matters such as health care decisions. Guardianships are not all permanent and may be voided if the person over whom you have been named guardian becomes capable of continuing their previous status. This can be done through a petition by that person to the court to void the guardianship.
Do I need an attorney for adult guardianship?
When you notice that your family member or loved one has become unable to continue handling their own affairs, you may consider filing a petition to gain guardianship. If you do this, it will be in your great benefit to retain the legal assistance of an experienced Pittsburgh estate planning attorney who has knowledge of the laws in the state and over the specific situations. The priority in these matters is to create a smooth process by which you can care for your loved one by handling tasks they are not able to. Contact a Pittsburgh estate planning attorney from Temple & Frayer Law today to learn more about how you can become an adult guardian.