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Helping People Age with Dignity

Deciding on a reliable and committed guardian

For many Massachusetts families, determining who to rely on as a legal guardian for incapacitated loved ones is met with angst and stress. Whether a couple is seeking guardianship for their children if something were to happen to them, or someone is looking for a guardian for an elderly or disabled family member, determining who should undertake such a serious responsibility should be done carefully.

According to NC Health and Human Services, responsibilities of a court-appointed guardian may include any of the following:

  • Filing and submitting legal documents, accountings and reports for the individual in their care.
  • Determining where the person they are caring for will live and how he or she will be cared for.
  • Managing the person’s financial affairs and making decisions regarding his or her medical treatment and care.

For families seeking advice on the best way to decide on a legal guardian, the Huffington Post provided some helpful tips. These include the following:   

  • Modification is an option: Many people falsely believe that once they determine legal guardianship of a loved one, there is no going back to change or modify. However, these decisions can certainly be revisited to make adjustments along the way.
  • Financial stability is important: Whoever a family decides on as the legal guardian of a loved one, they should be confident that the person’s financial income is consistent and reliable.
  • Consent is critical: Before an individual signs court documents outlining who, the guardian is, they should talk to that person and receive clear consent. This will prevent confusion and stress in the future.

For families with incapacitated loved ones, failure to choose a guardian means that if something happens to the current caretakers, the courts are legally able to choose who the guardian is. This makes determining guardianship an imperative part of planning one’s future.

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