What is Elder Guardianship?

December 15, 2020  

Our loved ones are living longer than ever, and with age comes cognitive decline. Some of our elderly family members are no longer able to make legal and financial decisions on their own, which is when a guardian can be appointed by the Ohio courts to help. Elder guardianship can protect your loved ones from being taken advantage of and ensure their care in their twilight years. For more information about how to establish a guardianship for your older loved one, call or contact Kryszak Law Firm today to schedule an evaluation of your case.

What is Guardianship?

In Ohio, guardianship is an involuntary legal proceeding that takes place in probate court. The purpose of guardianship is to protect an elderly or disabled person who is deemed legally incompetent by the court. Under Ohio law, incompetence is defined as a significant mental impairment due to physical or mental illness or disability that renders a person incapable of taking care of themselves or their property. 

There are different types of elder guardianship that the court can assign in order to fit the particular needs of the case. Guardianship of the estate grants authority to make financial decisions for an elderly person, such as paying debts, making investments, and purchasing items. Guardianship of the person grants authority to make personal decisions on behalf of the elder, including medical decisions, residential choices, and decisions about food, clothing, personal care, and recreation. Guardianship of the person and the estate gives one person the authority to make all financial, legal, medical, and personal decisions on behalf of the elder in their care.

The court can also assign co-guardians for an elder, where multiple people serve as guardians for the elder. In this case, either the guardians can share equally in the decision making for the elder or split the responsibilities between them.   

Other Legal Options

It is important to note that there are other legal options for protecting your elderly loved one other than guardianship; however, these options must be enacted while your family member is still considered legally competent. A durable power of attorney form assigns someone the ability to make legal and financial decisions if a person is no longer able to make those decisions for themselves, such as when an individual has dementia or another cognitive issue.

In addition, a living will and healthcare proxy can dictate a person’s medical and healthcare wishes or assign someone else to make those decisions on their behalf when they cannot communicate those decisions competently on their own. To learn more about all the ways you can protect your elderly loved one, talk to an experienced elder law attorney today. 

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Do you have concerns about the well-being of your elderly family member? If so, you may need to consider filing for guardianship or discussing other legal options for their care. To learn more, call the office or contact us at Kryszak Law Firm in Ohio today to schedule a consultation with an Avon elder law attorney.