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In the unfortunate event a loved becomes incapacitated before preparing the necessary documents (financial and/or healthcare Powers of Attorney) that direct certain choices, and the person becomes unable to care for their own personal, medical and financial matters, a guardianship may be needed.

A guardian is a person, usually a family member or close friend, appointed by a court to oversee the personal and/or financial needs of an incapacitated person.

A guardian or caretaker may need to be appointed in several situations including:

  • Caring for Elders – In the event an elderly relative is no loner able to care for their own personal or financial affairs and is no longer competent to sign a Power of Attorney delegating those responsibilities, you may need a guardian appointed by a court in order to facilitate the provision of necessary medical treatment, the payment of bills, and the management of property.
  • Caring for Minor or Disabled Children – If you have a minor child that is disabled or simply requires legal decisions to be made regarding financial or personal matters, a guardian may be named to make those decisions.
  • Managing Money for Minor Child – If a minor child inherits or is gifted a significant sum of money, whether through the receipt of life insurance benefits or as a recipient of lawsuit settlement proceeds, a guardian must be appointed to manage those funds until the child reaches the age of majority.

Once a guardian is appointed, that person owes a fiduciary duty to properly manage the personal and financial affairs of the person for whom the person was appointed guardian. Our attorneys have the experience to help a guardian navigate the sometimes complex nature of satisfying that fiduciary duty. Additionally, because of that experience, we also provide services to family members who believe a guardian may have acted outside the scope of that fiduciary duty seeking remedies and potentially damages should the appointed guardian have misspent or left unaccounted any assets of the guardianship. Our guardianship attorneys can help families contest guardianship applications or file breach of fiduciary duty claims against a guardian that you suspect may have mismanaged or stolen funds.

If you are concerned about a loved one’s ability to manage their personal or financial affairs on their own, or if you are seeking someone to help you understand or contest a guardianship application, contact CCHA to talk with one of our guardianship attorneys to review and counsel you regarding your options.

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