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Elder law: Applying for guardianship of the elderly

Guardianship, also known as conservatorship, may be applicable in cases when someone who hasn't made a power of attorney is no longer able to make important decisions regarding finances or health care. Guardianship is often used when a person is incapacitated, elderly or who has a disability and for someone who does not have a power of attorney. When elderly persons in Louisiana suffer from dementia or anything that inhibits them from making rational decisions, guardianship may be in order.

A petition to become a guardian must go through the court where a judge will decide if the person in question -- or the ward -- lacks the competency to make decisions for him or herself. If the court finds this to be the case, it will appoint someone who will become responsible for the ward's medical decisions, home life, finances and the like. The court will also decide, taking many factors into consideration, if the person who applied to become a guardian is the person who, in fact, is most suitable for the task.

If the ward did leave some sort of instruction in the case of incapacity, the court will take this into consideration. In many cases, an appointed guardian will be a family member, or trusted friend. If no one wants to take on the role, the court will appoint a professional or public guardian.

The issue of guardianship is steeped in legalities. A Louisiana attorney may be able to offer assistance to those who have questions regarding the role of a guardian and the process by which one can become a guardian. As the population continues to age, it is likely more queries regarding guardianship will arise and an elder law attorney can offer insight into the legalities.

Source: agingcare.com, "How to Get Guardianship of an Elder", Marlo Sollitto, Accessed on April 27, 2018

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