A guardianship is a legal right given to a person to be responsible for the food, health care, housing, and other necessities of a person deemed fully or partially incapable of providing these necessities for himself or herself.

Establishing Guardianship is a court process which is a great deal more costly and complicated than establishing a Power of Attorney. A medical evaluation of competency is legally required. The senior must be determined medically incompetent. This process is emotionally draining for the senior and his family. After the incompetency is determined, the person seeking Guardianship must go before a judge to declare the incompetence and petition for Guardianship. The court
date is announced and all family members will be informed and invited to contest, whether or not they have a meaningful relationship with the senior in question. The senior may also contest the proceedings.

It is recommended to avoid Guardianship to the best of your ability. Investing the time and money to consult with an Elder Law Attorney to draft an airtight Power of Attorney document early, and before a crisis hits, ismuch more cost effective and may save a family a significant amount of emotional hardship. When Guardianship cannot be avoided, seeking the advice of an elder law attorney is appropriate.