A guardianship gives one person the ability to make decisions for another should he or she become either temporarily or permanently disabled. The incapacitated individual that a guardian may be appointed to represent is known as a ward.
Establishing a guardianship can either be a voluntary or involuntary practice. While you are creating your estate plans, you may draft both a medical directive and durable power of attorney to spell out your wishes if you are unable to take care of yourself. In contrast, if you don't have these in place before the onset of your injury, then a judge may be asked to step in and appoint one him or herself.
In either situation, the role of the guardian is to render both nonfinancial and financial decisions for the incapacitated individual. When it comes to finances, it's particularly important to have someone step in and manage them because, real estate and investment portfolios can quickly decrease in value unless regularly attended to. Bills can also accumulate during this time, resulting in significant liabilities for the injured person.
Aside from both more financial-related matters as described above, the guardian is also responsible for ensuring that his or her ward is provided with adquate care and for rendering medical decisions for him or her. He or she is responsible for ensuring that his or her ward receives the highest quality medical treatment and educational opportunities possible as well.
Guardians are often asked to step in for their wards in situations in which they'd otherwise be deemed to not have the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves.
They're often required to keep the judge presiding over the matter abreast of changes in the ward's life. This is important because it allows the guardian to show that he or she is carrying out his or her fiduciary duties with respect to the ward. It also allows for any potential oversights to be addressed and modifications to responsibilities to be made.
If you're looking to create a guardianship, then a St. George, Utah estate planning attorney can advise you of how to go about doing just that.
Source: FindLaw, "Guardianship of incapacitated or disabled persons," accessed Dec. 08, 2017