When Palm Beach residents reach the point where they believe a family member can no longer act on his or her own behalf, they may begin to explore the alternatives. If the incapacitated individual does not have powers of attorney in place, it may be necessary to seek a guardianship. For those contemplating serving as the guardian, it may be helpful to understand the powers a court may grant.
A potential guardian may want to understand that these powers are actually duties to be fulfilled on behalf of the incapacitated person. The court takes these responsibilities seriously, and so should the guardian. For this reason, not just anyone may serve in this capacity. A potential guardian must be at least 18 years of age and not have a criminal record containing convictions for either gross misdemeanor or felony charges associated with dishonesty such as embezzlement, bribery or forgery, among other things.
A guardian makes the financial and medical decisions on behalf of the ward. He or she will also be responsible for making sure that the appropriate care, medical and educational services for the ward are available, adequate and maintained as long as necessary. Of course, the guardian does not operate in a vacuum. The court will probably require at least annual reports and may require the guardian to obtain permission to perform certain acts.
Palm Beach residents who decide that a guardianship would be the best course of action for a loved one must be willing to take on these responsibilities. Of course, it is not as simple as just making a request to the court. Its necessity will need to be clearly established since the law and the courts do not take removing someone’s ability to make his or her own decisions lightly. Considering the importance of this undertaking, it may be a good idea to consult with an experienced attorney prior to moving forward.