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What is a Guardianship?
In the event that an adult becomes incapacitated and unable to take care of their own affairs, and no Power of Attorney exists a guardian must be appointed by the Court to step in to care for that person's personal and financial interests. The guardian may be a family member, but it is not required. Sometimes, family conflicts exist making a third party stranger a more preferable candidate as guardian.
In order to establish a person as incapacitated, a complaint must be filed with the Superior Court in the county where the alleged incapacitated person lives. This complaint must be accompanied by two independent doctor's affidavits with their diagnosis that the person is unable to govern his or her affairs. The court then appoints an independent attorney to represent the alleged incapacitated person so his or her concerns regarding the Guardianship Complaint may be heard by the court.
A guardianship may be limited or general. A limited guardianship may cover decisions concerning residency, education, medical care, legal obligations and financial issues. A general guardianship covers more ground and is most appropriate for those who are incapable of making any decisions or expressing any preferences about them. The circumstances of a specific case dictates which of these remedies is appropriate.
In addition to being court appointed, a guardianship may also arise under a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy.