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When is it Time to File a Guardianship, and For What Reasons do People File Guardianships in Westchester County?

Know When it is Time to Legally Intervene

Guardianship, when referring to adults, is when someone is given legal control over some parts of an incapacitated adult’s affairs by a court. Obtaining guardianship over an adult is a complex legal procedure, so the best way to successfully petition for guardianship over a loved one is to have a Westchester estate attorney on your side.

It can be difficult to determine when it is time to petition the court for guardianship of a loved one. Some situations may be more difficult than other, however. If someone close to you is in a coma and there is no durable power of attorney, they are in no way able to make decisions for themselves as to their financial or medical status. However, on some occasions, a person may have some incapacity when it comes to one area, such as being able to balance their checkbook, keep their finances safe or keep up their home and hygiene, but are able to decide on their wishes when it comes to medical treatment and living arrangements, such as whether or not they want to go to a nursing home. In other cases, guardianship may be needed to protect a person from the abuse of another, whether it is financial, physical or otherwise, because the incapacitated person is unable to do that for themselves.

Each guardianship case would be different depending on the mental capacity of the person who is the subject of the petition. A guardian may be given full control over the incapacitated person’s life, including dealing with all financial and medical decisions. This could go as far as being able to sell property or decide if an incapacitated person needs long term care. In other instances, a guardian may just be given control over the incapacitated person’s finances but not be able to make other decisions in their life, such as those decisions related to medical care. There could be other cases where the guardian is only given power for a very specific purpose, such as in the case of needing to intervene when there is abuse by a third party.

The time to act when it comes to filing a petition for guardianship is when your loved one becomes incapable of handling his or her financial, personal or medical affairs in some way. Some examples of this may be if that person is suffering from dementia due to Alzheimer’s, has brain damage due to an accident or fall, has a severe mental illness or is otherwise unable to provide for their own well-being.

It is important if you believe that you need to be appointed guardian for one that you love that you don’t wait and hire a Westchester estate attorney right away. The legal proceedings are complex and there are many different court officers and medical personnel that must be coordinated for a case to be successful. Additionally, once you are appointed, there are procedural requirements that you must meet where it is best to have the assistance of legal counsel. Call the Law Offices of Albert Gurevich at (914) 293-2043.