As some people in California get older, they find it increasingly difficult to take care of themselves. Others are young enough to maintain some independence but struggle with a disability or mental illness. If their family shows concern, a court might appoint a guardian to look after them and manage certain aspects of their life.
What are the responsibilities of a guardian?
When a judge rules in favor of guardianships or conservatorships, the court places an individual in the care of a guardian who manages various aspects of their life. The guardian is responsible for figuring out their housing situation and checking in on them regularly. Doctors need the guardian’s permission to give the individual medical treatment or prescribe them medication. In a lot of ways, the guardian is like the individual’s parent.
The guardian is also responsible for making decisions about the individual’s education, outside activities, therapy sessions and–to an extent–personal relationships. Most guardians will try to give the individual as much independence as possible while still looking after them when necessary. If the individual is terminally ill, the guardian is responsible for making decisions about their end-of-life care. You can talk to a conservatorship attorney if you’re thinking about becoming a guardian for a friend or loved one.
When does someone need a guardian?
Your loved one might need a guardian if they’re having trouble living independently. If they don’t have a legal guardian, they still have the right to make their own decisions–which can be dangerous if their mental health is declining.
Talk to an attorney if you’re thinking about appointing a guardian for one of your relatives. A guardian could take care of their major life decisions while still giving them a sense of freedom and independence. They’ll be able to enjoy their remaining years without stressing about factors beyond their control.