Guardianship Attorneys and Their Role in Elder Law

Guardianship may enter the life of a senior citizen when they are found to be lacking the ability, or capacity as it is known in legal terminology, to manage their own affairs. A court may be needed to intervene and appoint a Guardian to serve as a substitute decision maker for a person.

There are two types of guardians that may be appointed by a court to make decisions:

  • A guardian of the person who has the authority to make personal decisions for the protected person, including decisions regarding health care and living situations; and
  • A guardian of the estate who has the authority to manage the protected person’s money and other property.

One person may be appointed as both the guardian of the person and the guardian of the estate.

A guardianship attorney is able to assist in many aspects of the guardianship process, which is a paperwork intensive, court process. Their duties can include:

  • Initiating hearings to determine competence;
  • Setting up trusts for an adult family member with special needs;
  • Annual reporting and accounting of assets and expenses; and
  • Being the guardian of the protected person.

Guardianships are often the last choice in helping a loved one who may be impaired due to age or illness. In fact, many estate planning tools are set up to avoid the need for guardianship proceedings. But if the time does come for this intervention, a guardianship attorney helps guide families through protective proceedings.

Author Bio

Catherine Hammond is the CEO and founder of Hammond Law Group, a Colorado-based estate planning law firm she founded in 2005. With a strong focus on protecting families from the legal consequences of disability and death, she creates comprehensive estate plans that minimize taxes, costs, and government interference.

A native of Denver, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at Coe College in Iowa, and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law in 1993, concentrating on estate planning, tax, and mediation. Catherine is a member of various professional organizations, including WealthCounsel, ElderCounsel, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Colorado Springs Estate Planning Council, and the Purposeful Planning Institute. Beyond her legal expertise, Catherine provides transformational coaching to support clients and their families through life transitions.

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