Mental and physical disability or incapacity can involve severe and long-term conditions that impose great limitations upon an individual’s ability to take care of themselves, express themselves verbally, earn a living, and live independently of the care of others. Such a disability reflects the necessity for a combination of treatments and services.
A guardianship for physically or mentally disabled or incapacitated persons have been understood to facilitate the independence and self-reliance of the alleged incapacitated person (“AIP”). Guardianships are limited as much as is reasonable in order to allow AIPs to exercise as much control over their lives as possible while maintaining as much dignity and self-reliance as possible. The desires of the AIPs are given primary consideration. Also, AIPs are allowed to do as much of their own caregiving as is physically and mentally possible.
What Powers Does a Guardian Have?
Guardians are granted only those powers necessary to accomplish what the disabled or incapacitated person cannot accomplish independently. These powers may include:
- Assuring the availability and maintenance of care for the AIP.
- Making financial decisions for the AIP.
- Making medical decisions for the AIP.
- Making sure that educational and medical services are maintained and adequate.
- Submitting updates to the court of the AIP’s condition. These court updates describe the AIP’s living situation, status of mental and physical health based upon medical examinations and official records, provide a list of services being received by the AIP, describe services rendered by the guardian, account for the AIP’s monetary assets, and any other information necessary to submit to the court in order for it to assess the status of the AIP and the guardian’s duties.
Who can act as a guardian?
- Any suitable person over the age of eighteen years;
- A professional certified guardian as authorized by law;
- An authorized financial institution can act as a guardian of a person’s estate.
Who cannot act as a guardian?
- A person under eighteen years of age;
- A person of unsound mind;
- A person convicted of a felony or of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude;
- A corporation not authorized to act as a fiduciary, guardian, or limited guardian in the state;
- Any person whom the court finds unsuitable.