We all like to think that we will grow old gracefully, without any serious medical complications. While this is a reality for some, we often have no control over accidents or conditions that rob us of our mental or physical abilities to make decisions for ourselves. Diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, dementia, etc., can render a once perfectly healthy individual into one partially or fully dependent on the care of others.
If a person falls into such a condition and has not created specific documents outlining who should take charge over their medical, and financial affairs, the courts may need to get involved.
You Can’t Always Do It Alone
Family members can request that a specific person (or persons) be named as court appointed guardians of an incapacitated adult. This is a legal process that involves filing the appropriate papers and then scheduling a court hearing with a judge. Because this process can be complicated (especially if the guardianship request is being contested by anyone involved), it is advisable to hire an adult guardianship lawyer in Denver to help expedite the process.
Ultimately, the judge will determine if the adult guardianship is warranted. The judge will assess the individual’s mental and physical capacity, listen to reports from physicians and hear from family members in order to make this important decision. The judge will also determine:
- Which individual will be the best choice for guardianship status (sibling, adult child, 3rd party individual, etc.)
- What level of involvement the guardian will have (full or partial, everyday life decisions, financial decisions, etc.)
- What type of reporting will be necessary for the guardian to provide
The Responsibility is Big
Being chosen as a guardian for another person is a big responsibility. After all, the guardian will be in charge of another person’s livelihood. Proper records must be kept and regular communications with the courts are often required. Typically, these roles are done gratis – the guardian may be reimbursed for expenses but there is usually no actual payment for this often time-consuming role. That’s one reason why it’s so important that the courts choose an honest and moral person for the appointment; you don’t want to have to return to the courts to have the guardian replaced because of fraud or due to bad decision-making.
Was the Decision the Right One?
Family members often feel conflicted during this process: did the courts make the decision for which their loved one would have approved? How does their loved one feel about the process? Should they have done something differently?
Many of these conflicts can be avoided if there is a detailed estate plan that includes not only a will or trust but also specific powers of attorney designated and living will instructions outlined. By putting these legal documents into place, you are protecting not only yourself from impersonal court decisions on your behalf but also planning out your future so your loved ones don’t have to make difficult decisions for you.
The experienced Denver estate planning lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC, (formerly The Brown Law Firm, LLC) can help you and your family be proactive about your future. Or, if you need to arrange an adult guardianship in Colorado for a loved one, we can help with that process.
To learn more about arranging a Denver adult guardian, contact Brown & Crona, LLC to arrange an appointment: (303) 339-3750 or visit our website.