Guardianship is increasingly necessary because people are living longer today than have previous generations. People who have lost the capacity to make their own decisions regarding their finances, medical care, housing and other important areas of their lives, require protection. The protection comes in the form of a court appointed guardian. The guardian accepts the duty to make decisions for the “ward” and handle the ward’s affairs.
The courts do not take the request to appoint a guardian lightly. Judges are very careful in making a finding that an individual is incapacitated, because this decision removes the individual’s liberty and right of self determination. There are strict legal requirements which must be met. These will satisfy the court of the real need for a guardian. You will need an attorney well versed in these requirements; one who has a good deal of experience handling such matters before the court.
Acting as a guardian is not a simple matter. There are annual reporting requirements regarding the finances and well-being of the ward. There is a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ward in all decision making. Having an experienced and knowledgeable attorney at your side will help.
The Center for Disease Control cites longer lifespans as the reason for the climbing rate of all kinds of dementia in our country. Presently 5.3% of the population suffers from dementia. The rate is expected to double by 2050 for people over the age of eighty. Regardless of its cause, the incapacity of members of our community will have a significant impact on our lives.
Bob Shanahan is such an attorney. Not only does he have thirty years of practice, but he has brought numerous guardianship cases before the courts. Protection of our community’s most vulnerable people is a passion for Bob. He has served, and currently serves, as a guardian for several Hunterdon County residents, and is active in the service organization, Volunteer Guardianship One on One, Inc. He knows the law and the practicalities facing guardians.
Contact Bob Shanahan and let him give you the benefit of his experience.