Most guardianship hearings focus on whether to allow a guardian to make ordinary personal and medical decisions. How does the court make guardianship decisions if the adult needs someone to make extraordinary medical decisions?
Many Massachusetts residents have older family members who are still in good health. Still, they may understand that mental capacity often declines as individuals age, and the possibility exists that dementia could easily affect any older loved one. When that happens, it may be time for other family to consider the possibility of conservatorships.
Unfortunately, the abuse of elderly or disabled individuals is not entirely an uncommon occurrence. Many Massachusetts families have seen or experienced the abuse of incapacitated adults by appointed guardians, private nurses or even other family members. This can result in heavy fines or even jail time for the abusers.
There are adults across the country who are under the care of another due to a wide variety of health problems or old age. These caregivers are often in charge of helping their wards around their homes as well as helping to pay bills. However, as some Massachusetts residents may know, some of these caregivers take advantage of the incapacitated adults whom they are supposed to help.
Britney Spears is known and beloved as a musical artist, but she is also known for her rather infamous breakdowns. What many Massachusetts readers might not know is that Spear's assets have been controlled by her father from a young age. Her father was originally awarded conservatorship after she was checked into a psychiatric hospital in 2008. In other cases, conservatorships or guardianships may be awarded to a third party or to an attorney.
There are a large number of married couples in Massachusetts who assume that their spouse will be asked, by default, to make medical and financial decisions for the other. Unfortunately, many of these couples discover that this is not the case. Sometimes, a power of attorney isn't enough. Obtaining conservatorships can be time-consuming and expensive for those who aren't expecting to need it.
Many Massachusetts residents likely pride themselves on being independent and making their own decisions for their lives. While this ability is often cherished, it is not always one that individuals are able to maintain for the entirety of their lives. In many cases, elderly individuals or other adults become incapacitated, and guardianships become needed in order for decisions to be made.
Estate plans have a variety of uses, and many Massachusetts residents may only know the surface benefits of such plans. Though individuals can create wills to distribute property, they can also utilize their plans to address guardianships or conservatorships that may be necessary after their deaths. Addressing the need for such appointments ahead of time could prove crucial to many people.
For young parents in Massachusetts and elsewhere who are going through the estate planning process, trying to decide who will care for young children in the event of their deaths or incapacitation can be challenging. As difficult as it may be, appointing a guardian for minor children really is a must. This column will address how this can be done and what should be considered before making the ultimate decision.
Those individuals in Massachusetts and elsewhere who are appointed as guardians of adults have a number of responsibilities. After all, incapacitated adults depend on these individuals to make many important medical and personal decisions for them -- among other things, -- which is no small feat. What are some of the duties and responsibilities assigned to guardians, and are there any limits to their decision making powers?