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A review of guardianship for elderly adults

Establishing a person as the guardian of another individual is a complicated legal process. Many readers of this Massachusetts legal blog may be familiar with situations where courts grant adults guardianship rights over children who are in need of care. What they may not know is that in some situations guardians must be appointed for adults, particularly those who are aging and unable to take care of themselves.

Adult guardianship may be necessary when a person cannot attend to their own needs. It is a sad reality for some aging individuals that living alone and maintaining their own needs are too much for them. When a person cannot manage their own health care needs, provide themselves with basic hygiene practices, or attend to other significant daily requirements they may need a guardian to help them.

A guardian takes over many of the responsibilities that a person would otherwise hold for themselves. Because of this, the process of assigning a guardian to an aging adult takes rights away from the person in need of help and assigns them to their guardian. Because the guardian takes legal control over the life of their ward, courts take precautions to make sure individuals subject to guardian petitions are truly in need of care before taking rights away from them.

Individuals who have concerns about their aging relatives and friends may want to discuss their options for petitioning of guardianship through the Massachusetts courts. Getting a judgment of guardianship can take time and legal knowledge, and for these reasons it can benefit some individuals to discuss their desires with elder law attorneys who understand their concerns.

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