When a loved one becomes disabled or otherwise unable to make rationale and sound decisions or communicate needs regarding their own health, safety or self-care, you should seriously consider having an adult guardianship appointed. The advocate is usually appointed in a written legal agreement drawn up by the attorneys of both parties, but if this legal document does not exist, the court of Massachusetts can step in to appoint a guardian for a disabled individual. In either case, guardianship must be approved by the court as legally binding.
How to Determine if Legal Guardianship is Necessary
Since every case is unique, it is up to loved ones to ultimately make the final decision whether an individual’s medical or physical impairment has rendered them unable to make cognitive decisions on their health, safety, and everyday needs.
Examples of impairments can include, but are not limited to:
- Elder individuals diagnosed with Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease
- Young adults with intellectual or developmental impairments
- Adults diagnosed with severe mental health condition who are unable or refusing to receive care
- Adults with brain injuries, chronic disabling illness, or other severe physical impairment
Who Can Qualify as a Legal Adult Guardian?
- Family Member
- Professional Care Provider
Typical Duties of a Legal Guardian
According to the Decree of the Court, a legal guardian can be granted various decision-making rights regarding several aspects of the impaired individuals care. Adult guardians are expected to ensure the individual receives medical treatment, is provided with necessities, and when appropriate, helps the individual develop the skills needed to eventually care for themselves if possible.
Specific examples include, but are not limited to:
- Making sure the individual’s living situation is safe and appropriate
- Provides funds and/or handles financial responsibilities
- Ensures proper medical care including handling medical benefits
- Provides social, recreational, and educational support
If you are considering legal guardianship for a loved one, please contact us for a consultation. We can help you through the legal process of guardianship to ensure your loved one is properly cared for and their rights are protected under the law.