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Guardianship Attorney Serving The Pittsburgh Metro

When adults are incapacitated and cannot make decisions, their financial and health care agents may make decisions on their behalf. However, if there are no powers of attorney in place, a guardianship may be necessary. It is best to set up financial and health care powers of attorney ahead of time to address health care, financial and legal matters.

At McMorrow Law, LLC, we can represent the family or the incapacitated individual (ward) in guardianship proceedings. We recommend that people create powers of attorney proactively to prevent emergency guardianships; however, we realize that is not always possible. Our experienced Pittsburgh adult guardianship lawyer can assist you and your family with powers of attorney or guardianships in Pennsylvania.

Qualified Candidates For Guardianship Roles

A guardian is a person or entity appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person, known as the ward. There are several criteria for who can serve as a guardian. Close family members, such as parents, adult children or siblings, are often considered first. However, close friends, professional guardians or nonprofit organizations can also be appointed if deemed appropriate.

Potential guardians must meet certain legal requirements, including being a Pennsylvania resident, having the capacity to handle the responsibilities, passing background checks and having no conflicts of interest with the ward. The court carefully evaluates each candidate to ensure the ward’s best interests are protected.

What Does Being A Guardian Involve?

A guardian’s responsibilities are comprehensive and far-reaching. They must make decisions about the ward’s living situation, ensuring they reside in a safe and appropriate environment. Guardians also manage the ward’s finances and assets, including paying bills, managing investments and protecting their property.

Additionally, a guardian ensures the ward receives proper medical care by making health care decisions, consenting to treatments and advocating for their needs with medical providers. The guardian must act as a fierce advocate, promoting the ward’s best interests and protecting their rights.

Guardians have a legal obligation to submit regular reports to the court detailing the ward’s condition, living situation and how their personal and financial affairs are being handled. This reporting requirement holds guardians accountable and allows the court to oversee the guardianship.

Most importantly, a guardian acts as a fiduciary, meaning they have a legal and ethical duty to always act in the ward’s best interests, putting the ward’s needs before their own. This fiduciary duty is a critical aspect that an experienced guardianship attorney can explain in detail and provide guidance on fulfilling properly.

The level of guardianship can vary depending on the ward’s needs. A limited or partial guardianship may be appropriate if the ward can still make some decisions independently. However, if the ward lacks decision-making capacity in all areas, a full or plenary guardianship may be necessary. Consulting with a guardianship attorney is essential to understanding the different guardianship types and ensuring the proper level is established.

Guardianships And Powers Of Attorney

Adults may be temporarily or permanently incapacitated by injury or illness. Elderly adults may be especially susceptible to Alzheimer’s or dementia. If they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves and/or communicate those decisions, they need someone to act on their behalf. When people have durable financial and health care powers of attorney, their agents can take action to protect their financial interests and carry out their health care wishes. When people are incapacitated and do not have these legal documents in place, the court may appoint a guardian to make decisions on their behalf.

Family members may seek guardianship preemptively if they believe it is necessary to protect their loved one. Many people feel bad about this decision, as if they are taking away their loved one’s independence. We handle guardianship proceedings with care and sensitivity for everyone involved and will thoroughly explain the process.

Call Us Today To Get Started

To schedule an appointment, please call 412-407-2816 or contact us online.