There is nothing more important in life than caring for our loved ones. If a loved one of yours no longer has the mental capacity he or she requires to manage his or her finances, medical needs, and more, and that person has not created certain critical estate planning documents such as powers of attorney, you may wish to become that person’s legal guardian, wherein you can obtain the legal authority to make certain critical decisions on their behalf. Though the process ahead is not always easy, with an experienced Pennsylvania elder law attorney on your side, it can be made easier. Continue reading and speak with our firm to learn more about guardianship in Pennsylvania.
How does the guardianship process work in Pennsylvania?
There are several steps to the guardianship process in Pennsylvania. To start, you and your attorney will draft a petition to become your loved one’s guardian, and from here, you will have to explain the petition to your loved one. You will then file the petition with the court and state your case there as well. The court will appoint an attorney for the alleged incapacitated person to ensure that they have a fair day in court and that their best interests are advocated for. Next, months later, an expert will testify to the judge regarding the mental condition of the alleged incapacitated and whether that person truly requires a guardian.
The petition will detail what assets the incapacitated party owns, who is wishing to take possession of them, and it will also include your financial information as well. As long as the judge believes that the individual is incapacitated and that you would be a bit guardian, the judge will either allow a guardianship granting you permission to make financial decisions on behalf of your loved one, healthcare decisions on behalf of your loved one, or both. Finally, once you are appointed guardian, you must ensure that you keep a meticulous record of your loved one’s finances (how they were spent, how much is left, where they are saved, etc.) You will have to report back to the court every year regarding this information to ensure you are acting honestly and in your loved one’s best interests. As you can see the process is complicated and lasting, which is why you should strongly consider whether you are truly up for the task before undertaking it. If you are, our Pennsylvania elder law attorneys are here to help.
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Whether you are dealing with matters involving estate planning, estate administration, or elder law, you need a legal team that you can feel confident will represent your best interests, every step of the way. We are that legal team. Contact Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning today so we can get started.