A legal guardian is a person who obtains the legal authority (and corresponding duty) to care for a person and/or the property of another individual. Guardians are typically used in three (3) situations – guardianship for an incapacitated adult (due to old age or infirmity), guardianship of a minor and guardianship for developmentally disabled adults.
The need for a guardian typically arises when someone determines that an individual has become unable to care for their own person or property; i.e., finances. For example, parents of a developmentally disabled child may start a guardianship action when their child reaches the age of majority.
Guardianships are a valuable tool which can be used to protect persons who do not possess the ability to make appropriate personal or financial decisions. The guardian assumes the duty of caring for the incapacitated person and/or that individual’s finances, and the court maintains oversight to reduce the risk of exploitation or abuse by the guardian.
Guardianships take several forms – Guardianship of the Person, wherein decisions are limited to those affecting the person, such as medical treatment, care, housing, etc.; Guardianship of the Estate, wherein the guardian is responsible for managing the assets of the person; Guardianship of the Person and Estate or Limited Guardianship of the Person and Estate, in cases where the individual is determined by the court to retain some capacity for rational decision-making.
Our firm can assist you in obtaining the right Guardianship. We are familiar with the Orphans’ Court proceedings from filing the necessary petition to attending the incapacity hearing.
Our services include drafting and filing the petition, notice to the incapacitated person, obtaining the necessary medical testimony to support your plea for guardianship, attendance at the incapacity hearing and the filing of all necessary paperwork to effectuate the guardianship. Our firm will work with you, and your loved one(s), taking the time to advise all parties with care and compassion during this difficult decision.