Guardianship of the Person
The term guardianship of the person is a legal arrangement in which a court appoints a person or entity as a Guardian to make decisions about the personal and daily life of someone who is unable to make those decisions independently.
This type of Guardianship is established when the person, known as the Ward, lacks the capacity to manage their own personal affairs due to factors such as age, incapacity, disability, or vulnerability.
This is in contrast to Guardianship of the Estate, which is a guardian that only focuses on financial and property management.
These two types of guardianships may be established independently or together, depending on the specific circumstances and needs of the individual requiring guardianship.
Key points related to guardianship of the person include:
Guardian's Role: The guardian is responsible for making decisions related to the ward's well-being, living arrangements, healthcare, education, and other personal matters.
Scope of Authority: The scope of the guardian's authority is determined by the court and may vary based on the specific needs and circumstances of the ward. Regardless the scope, the guardian's decisions must be in the Best Interests of the ward.
Types of Decisions: The guardian may make decisions about where the ward lives (including decisions about assisted living or nursing homes), medical treatment, educational options, recreational activities, and other aspects of daily life.
Court Oversight: While the guardian has the authority to make decisions, the court may provide oversight to ensure that the guardian is acting in the best interests of the ward. Regular reports and periodic reviews may be required.
Alternatives: Before establishing guardianship, the court typically considers less restrictive alternatives, such as Power of Attorney, healthcare proxies, or other mechanisms that allow the person to retain more decision-making capacity.
Consent and Input: Depending on the ward's level of capacity, their preferences and desires may be taken into account when making decisions. The guardian may need to make decisions that the ward would likely make if they were capable.
Rights of the Ward: Guardianship of the person does not completely strip the ward of their rights. The ward's basic human rights and freedoms should still be upheld to the greatest extent possible.