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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

Choosing a guardian for an aging or disabled individual

As most readers understand, parents are responsible for the health and well-being of their children until those children reach the age of adulthood. At that time, children may begin to make their own decisions and be held accountable for their own legal actions. In New York and jurisdictions throughout the country, adulthood is generally recognized when a child reaches the age of 18 years.

However, sometimes adults require assistance and supervision even after they have attained their 18th birthdays. Adults who are unable to make decisions for themselves due to age or infirmity may require guardians to provide them with support so that they may continue to live their lives. Past posts on this blog have discussed what guardians may do; this post will address how a guardian may be selected to provide support for an aging or disabled person.

In most cases, courts will seek the input of individuals to find out who they would like their guardians to be. If a person's chosen guardian is sufficient then a court may appoint that person to provide support and care. If, however, a person cannot express their opinion regarding the guardian of their choice then a court may look to testamentary documents like powers of attorney and wills to glean information on whom the individual may have wanted to provide them with care.

When no information can be found to identify a person's chosen guardian, a court must select someone who can meet the needs of their aging or disabled ward. Guardianships are important legal statuses that should be taken seriously. It is imperative that readers discuss their guardianship questions and concerns with attorneys who are familiar with their unique legal cases.

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