What Is a Guardian?
If you or a loved one becomes disabled or incapacitated and there is no power of attorney in place, then a guardian must be appointed by the court to care for you and manage your financial affairs. Upon appointment of a guardian, you lose certain legal rights to act on your own behalf, and the guardian will be empowered to act for you.
The guardian of the person will be responsible for making your decisions regarding housing, education and training, medical decisions, and decisions regarding your security. The guardian of the estate will be responsible for managing your personal financial resources, making prudent investment decisions, paying all of your expenses in a timely manner, and ensuring that you do not become the victim of designing persons. The same individual can serve as guardian of the person and as guardian of the estate.
It’s possible to avoid the guardianship process in Bucks County, PA if you plan now. We’ll guide you and your family through the steps Pennsylvania law requires so a guardianship will not be necessary.
If you currently have a family member who is no longer able to manage financial and other important matters on his or her own, and that person has not prepared a power of attorney, we can assist you through the guardianship process.
Do You Need a Guardianship If You Have Power of Attorney?
In most cases, no. When a power of attorney is in place, there usually is not a need to also have a guardianship. Pennsylvania residents who want to know more should read our blog on this topic.
Can You File for Guardianship Without an Attorney?
If you meet the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s requirements to become a legal guardian, then you can file without an attorney. However, we do not recommend that you do that. There is a lot that you need to know about the legal process, so it is in your best interest to speak with an attorney who practices in this area of the law.
Who Can Serve as a Guardian?At a guardianship hearing, a judge will decide if the person seeking guardianship can do the job. The judge may give preference to the incapacitated person’s spouse or family members, since they are familiar with that person. If close family members can’t or won’t serve, the judge can appoint a professional guardian or public guardian.
What Does a Guardian Do?Depending on the persons level of incapacitation, you will need to:
- Decide living situations
- Keep an eye on the residence and any other real estate they might own
- Give consent for medical treatment
- Manage real estate
- Pay bills, track expenditures and handle investments
- Make end-of-life decisions when necessary
- File guardianship reports to the court