There may come a time in your or your elderly loved one’s life when it is no longer possible to make safe, sound decisions about health or finances. A guardianship may be the answer. Guardianships can also be used for minor children whose parents have passed away. To learn more, the guardianship attorneys at Simms Showers LLP are here to answer your questions and help you decide which steps you should take next.
Guardianship For Adults
If an adult is not able to make sound decisions regarding their health, safety, and property, they may need a guardianship. In many cases, a court appoints someone as guardian following a trip to the hospital or a traffic stop. Tragically, thousands of elderly adults have fallen victim to predatory guardianship schemes, in which a competent adult is forced by a guardianship company to give up their rights, their home, and their assets. As such, if your elderly parent or loved one is in need of assistance, it is, of course, best if you or another family member step up to fill that role. Under § 64.2-2000, a guardian can be responsible for the following types of decision making:
- Therapeutic treatment; and
Why Guardianship is Important for Elderly Adults
Ten percent of adults over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s dementia, according to the CDC. That percentage increases with age. For adults over 85, one in three have Alzheimer’s. Dementia and moderate cognitive decline are the primary instances in which an adult might benefit from guardianship, though there are certainly many other instances. Those who suffer from dementia are more likely than others to fall prey to scammers. Some elderly adults may benefit from guardianship that only controls their finances, but allows them to make other decisions for themselves. Others with dementia may have reached the point where they are no longer safe to drive, yet get behind the wheel of a car anyways out of confusion. In this case, full guardianship over their decision making may be necessary for their safety and the safety of others.
Alternatives to a Guardianship
If you (or your elderly loved one) are still mentally competent, then creating a durable power of attorney to handle healthcare or financial needs may be adequate, and potentially preferable over guardianship. Similarly, a revocable trust can appoint a trustee to manage their financial affairs, but only if it is created when they are still legally mentally competent.
Guardianship For Children
If a minor child’s parents have both passed away, they need a guardian to make legal decisions for them. Unlike a guardianship for an adult, which is almost always until death, guardianship of a child ends when they reach the age of 18.
Reach Out to Us Today for Professional Assistance
Whether you are creating or modifying your own estate plan, or you are seeking options for your elderly parent or parents, the guardianship attorneys at Simms Showers LLP can help you find the right legal tools to accomplish your goals. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.