Cherry Hill Guardianship Attorneys

It is difficult to see a loved one deteriorate to the point where they can no longer take care of themselves. They might be in a position where they need someone to make important decisions for them. That is when a guardian is needed. It is an emotional and stressful process to have a guardian appointed for a loved one, and it can lead to strained relationships among family members.

A guardian is a person who is appointed by the court who has the authority to make decisions on behalf of that person. The guardian can make medical, financial, or general decisions for their charge. There is normally a need for the guardian when the person is unable or incapable of making decisions that will be in their own best interest.

In most cases, those who need a guardian are older people or children. In certain instances, an older person could be suffering from a cognitive decline and cannot be trusted to make the proper decisions anymore. For children, they are considered too young to understand the gravity or consequences of their decisions. 

What are the Types of Guardianships?

The level of authority that a guardian possesses will depend on the type of guardianship that is granted. There are three types that allow for the guardian to make certain decisions. Those three versions include: 

  • Guardianship over a person: In this situation, the guardian is responsible for the health and well-being of their charge. They are entrusted with making major life decisions involving health care decisions, decisions about where the person will live, and in the case of children, decisions regarding school.
  • Guardianship over the estate: This person must be appointed by the court and is responsible with only the financial aspects of a person’s life. They can make decisions involving their finances but not their medical or life decisions.
  • Guardianship over the person and estate: In this arrangement, the guardian has authority over a person and their possessions. They can make personal, medical, and financial decisions for the protected person.

The courts will be asked to assign a guardian when there is a dispute that cannot be resolved. The courts will occasionally appoint an unrelated individual such as a caretaker to take on the role of a guardian. A lawyer can help draw up the petition papers for those looking to have a guardian appointed for a loved one.

How Long Does a Guardianship Last?

There is no set time over the length of a guardianship, as it will continue as long as there is a need. An adult who has a guardian appointed on their behalf will retain a guardian until the adult demonstrates that they can make their own decisions again. At any point during the guardianship, the protected person can request that the court remove the guardian. 

The protected person must understand the consequences of their actions. If they can prove that to the court, the guardian will be released. Otherwise, the guardian will remain in that position until the death of the protected person.

For children, the guardianship will last until the child turns 18 years old. If the child will not graduate high school until they turn 19 years old, they can make a request to the court that the guardianship will end when the child either graduates or turns 19 years old, whichever happens first. 

How can a Lawyer Help Me With a Guardianship?

When it comes time to make the difficult decision to request a guardian, a family must petition the court. To do that, they will require the help of a lawyer who knows the proper procedures for making this request. The lawyer will gather the proper information and medical records to make the request. When the request is agreed to by all parties, it can be a straightforward process. 

However, that is not always the case, as certain family members might dispute the various aspects of the guardianship request. A lawyer can also help defend the family’s difficult decision from someone who is attempting to implement their own plan. The most common problems occur when:

  • Family members challenge the person appointed to be guardian.
  • Family members refuse to be named a guardian.
  • The protected person declines to consent to a guardianship.

Although the process can be complicated and difficult, having a lawyer can help make the process go as smoothly as possible.