What are guardianships and how are they important?

A guardianship is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints a person, known as a guardian, to make decisions and take care of another person, known as a ward, who cannot care for themselves. Guardianships are typically established for individuals who cannot make decisions for themselves due to factors such as age, disability, or incapacity. There are two types of guardianships; Guardianship of the person and Guardianship of the estate A guardianship of the estate is a person who is responsible for the day-to-day care and well-being of the ward, while a guardian of the estate is responsible for managing the ward’s financial affairs.

Guardianships are important in several ways:

  1. They protect individuals who are unable to make decisions or care for
  2. They ensure that the ward’s physical and financial needs are met by appointing someone to
    manage their care and finances.
  3. They can help with financial exploitation or abuse of the ward by having someone with legal
    authority to manage their financial affairs.
  4. They help with decision-making for the ward as the appointed guardian acts as a substitute
    decision maker for the ward.
  5. They can help with the continuity of care as the ward can continue to love in familiar
    surroundings or with familiar people.
  6. Guardianships are typically established through the probate court and can be costly, so it is
    important to consider if there are alternative options such as powers of attorney, trusts, or living
    wills before seeking guardianship.