Woman helping elderly woman

Guardianship: How to Avoid It

Elder abuse is a serious crime. Elderly citizens with mental conditions like dementia can be an easy target for unscrupulous actors looking to exploit their victims’ life’s savings. One of the ways that these bad actors gain control is through the process of guardianship.

Guardianship of an elderly person, also known as elderly conservatorship, is a legal relationship forged by the court. The relationship begins when the judge appoints an individual to care for an elderly person who is deemed no longer be able to care for themselves. “Unable to care for themselves” can mean many things, but this typically means that the individual is unable to feed themselves, bathe themselves, take their medication regularly or properly, or some other condition that makes living alone impractical.

Once the court decides that the individual is unfit to live alone, they will grant the guardian legal rights over their ward. The ward loses their medical, financial, and legal rights as they are assumed by the guardian. This has been used in the past to bleed some elderly wards dry as the guardian uses their control over them to drain their bank accounts or spend their pension checks on themselves. 

It can be very difficult for the ward to escape from under an exploitative guardian since they have legally been declared to be incapable of acting in their own best interest. The best way to avoid guardianship is to have a designated family member or friend legally granted durable, medical power of attorney to handle your affairs on your behalf. Under a durable medical POA, even if a judge finds you unfit to make your own health decisions, there will be someone that you trust who can make those decisions on your behalf as opposed to a potentially predatory guardian or guardianship agency.  

If you are planning on creating these vital arrangements for your health and estate, then you will need an experienced trust and estate attorney. An experienced trust and estate attorney can ensure that the power of attorney you designate is airtight and durable, preventing subversion by would-be guardians. 

The best way to find your trust and estate attorney is with Attorney at Law. At AAL, our nationwide network of attorneys and law firms can find the best attorneys in your area to fit your needs. Furthermore, not only do our partners have a proven record of success and extensive experience, they also prioritize their client experience. 

Don’t wait. Contact AAL today for a free, no obligation consultation and begin your journey to solidify your future.

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