Decision-making regarding support, care, education, health, and welfare.
When a loved one loses his or her once-vast capacity, it often becomes necessary to seek a guardianship over the incapacitated individual in order protect their safety and welfare. Incapacity is not always the loss of proper mental or physical functioning; it also includes age. In Georgia, an individual who is under the age of 18 is deemed to have a legal incapacity. For an adult, the lack of capacity relates to the individual’s ability to make and communication reasonable decisions.
The appoint of a guardian requires a court order. A guardian is required to act in the best interests of the Ward, which is simply legal jargon for the incapacitated individual. Often a guardian is tasked with making decisions that relate to things like medical treatment and domicile. Moreover, as opposed to a durable power of attorney which can be revoked if a court has not determined incapacity, a guardianship not only empowers the guardian but it also strips the Ward of those powers. It’s an extremely serious proceeding and should be approached more often as a last resort than less restrictive alternatives, such as estate planning and the preparation of an advance directive for health care and durable power of attorney.
Guardianships proceedings require certain court filings and always require a hearing. Attorneys at Alford & Burkhart help families throughout the entire process, including exploring if a less restrictive option exists.
Common Causes of Incapacity of the Elderly:
Stroke Dementia Alzheimer’s Cognitive Impairment