If you have an adult family member or loved one who you believe is unable to care for themself, you may wish to seek guardianship over them. State laws will vary somewhat; however, a guardian is generally someone who has control over the person, whereas a conservator has control over the estate of the person. In practical terms, this means that as guardian you will be able to make decisions such as where they will live and what doctor will treat them. Only a court can decide if someone requires a guardian. Simply making bad decisions is not usually enough to prompt a court to appoint a guardian. Some reasons that may, however, convince a court to appoint a guardian include the following:
- They are unable to make medical decisions or fails to follow through with medical treatment
- They have a mental illness that impairs her ability to make basic decisions
- They have a physical condition that impairs their ability to care for themselves
- They are low functioning or mentally challenged to the point that they cannot make decisions for themselves
- They have a drug or alcohol addiction that impairs her ability to make decisions
- They are homeless or at risk for being homeless as a result of their inability to care for themselves
If you believe that your family member or loved one is in need of a guardian, don’t hesitate to discuss the possibility of seeking guardianship with your attorney as soon as possible.