Guardianships for adults can be quite different than those established for children. Your elderly loved one may need a guardianship if they have become mentally incapacitated or a condition otherwise renders them unable to make vital decisions themselves.

That is not to say that the guardianship would take away the rights of your elderly loved one. In fact, there is special attention paid to maintaining self-reliance and dignity for adults who need guardianships.

To better understand when it is appropriate to establish a guardianship for your loved one, it may help you to review the responsibilities that can be granted to a guardian. Such responsibilities relate to:

  • Medical decision-making
  • Financial decision-making
  • Ensuring the maintenance of medical and educational services
  • Providing the court with regular updates of your loved one’s condition

Ultimately, the guardian’s role in your loved one’s life is to step in and consent to major life decisions and personal care matters that they are incapable of doing on their own.

Who can be a guardian?

There are some guidelines for who may become a guardian. Guardians must be at least 18 years old and a legal adult. They cannot have serious criminal records—that is, a gross misdemeanor or a felony in their history. If your loved one has a preference as to who will be their guardian, the court will certainly factor their wishes into their decision. If there is no clear preference, the court may appoint an adult child, a sibling, spouse or other another family member.