Obtaining guardianship of a loved one with cognitive impairment.
Age is the greatest risk factor for cognitive impairment. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of cognitive impairment in the elderly. In addition to Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive impairment may be due to conditions such as a stroke, traumatic brain injury or developmental disabilities.
Caregivers for people with cognitive deficits often reach a point when they realize their loved one is unable to make rational or informed decisions. If the person with a cognitive impairment, has signed a proper durable power of attorney, the caregiver can generally use the durable power of attorney to make necessary decisions, handle financial matters, and obtain necessary information.
If the loved one’s mental capacity does not allow them to sign a durable power of attorney, a family member or friend needs to obtain a guardianship.
With a guardianship, families can assure that their loved one, lives in a safe environment, is free from financial exploitation, is able to receive necessary medical care and is able to receive the care the loved one needs.
Obtaining guardianship involves court proceedings since due process considerations come into play. The first step is to obtain evidence, usually a doctor’s letter, that the person is incapacitated.
A petition with a number of exhibits must then be filed with the court. Once the petition is on file, the court appoints an attorney for your loved one, the case is then set for hearing.
Conservatorships often go hand-in-hand with guardianships. A conservator is appointed to handle the finances of an incapacitated person
If you need legal assistance obtaining a guardianship and/or a conservatorship, please call for a free initial consultation.
Margaret Dean, Attorney at Law, 816-753-3100. Licensed in Missouri and Kansas.
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