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States vary on this but generally a person must be mentally impaired before guardianship can be granted. The point of someone needing guardianship is that he or she cannot make decisions for their own good based on their mental capacity.

Do check into your state laws, though, if you think that this step is necessary. Be aware that it's not easy (nor should it be) to gain guardianship over an adult. It's also expensive (in most cases).
Take care,
Carol
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If you do not HAVE to obtain Guardianship don't.
It is expensive
It can be exhausting
It can be a paperwork nightmare
Every expense has to be documented, receipts must be saved, you have to go to court (I had to go every 6 months) and it might be possible that an expense you thought was one that could be paid for through the disabled persons account will be denied so you would not be reimbursed for that expense.
You will need to establish another account at the bank designated as a Beneficiary account and I could never transfer money from that account to mine to pay for items I had to go into the bank. (Supposedly they do not allow on line transfer to limit the possibility of misuse of funds)

I should have started my statement (tirade) by saying it depends on who you are going to be Guardian for (of)...for me it was my husband. I thought the process for a husband and wife to have to nit pick receipts and "charge" my husband a portion of the mortgage, electric, phone, gas, water, food bills in order to use "his" funds ridiculous. Now that the funds are pretty much gone other than Social Security I am no longer Guardian of the Estate but simply Guardian of the Person. But that still entails me having to file yearly with Social Security what his Social Security checks have been used for.

But if the Guardianship is for a parent, sibling, neighbor, friend then all this is necessary and I understand completely the reasoning behind the caution that is taken.

Just know that it can be a bit of a nightmare but nothing that can not be managed. And the Lawyers will help with paperwork. Just know the more they do the more it will cost you.
Oh...you will have to obtain a Bond equal to a % of the estate and that will have to be paid yearly...You will also be paying for a Court Appointed G.A.L. (Guardian ad Litem) Their job is to ensure that the disabled person is well treated, safe and you are doing your job. (I never saw ours except when we went to court..sure had to pay his bill though!)
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I would caution that you may be going down a road here which is neither helpful nor necessary in fact. There is something overemphasized about the missing healthcare directive as the reason to get guardianship. Also, there is no way in the world that the guardianship will only cost $2000. I would definitely keep going and doing what you can with the POA and with your relationship with your Mom and siblings. You can get her into a facililty without a guardianship. You can redirect her Soc security check to you with just a POA, and if she can go to the bank with you and has an account, you can get POA on the bank account she has as well as long as she seems OK enough when you go in there and she is able to say thats what she wants. It is really a last resort to file for guardianship in my opinion. Many families do well and even better without it.
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I think guardianship laws probably vary from state to state. I believe that there has to be some form of mental incompetence. That could arise from mental illness, brain disease or injury, or dementia, so not dementia exclusively.
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I looked into guardianship and was advised by three lawyers not to do it. That guardianship should be the last resort.
1. The person loses all their rights.
2. Other family members can contest it.
3. As grandma 1954 mentioned - it is a lot of work, time comsuming and expensive.
4. The guardian has to live in the same state.
5. Get on line and look at the information the local courts have on guardianship.
I have POA - glad I didn't do guardianship and it has been much easier. As a grandma 1954 stated. You have to keep every receipt and go to court every 6 months for review. POA is much easier.
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1) Mental impairment? yes; 2) Type of mental impairment? Doesn't matter but will have to be documented by a mental health professional for the court; 3) Live in the same state? Think it depends on the state's rules; 4) Expensive? +$5k most often; 5) Person lose ALL their rights? Some of that is determined by the choice of who's filing for it and some by the court, e.g. right to vote, medical decisions; 6) Risk of contesting by other family members? If so, more time consuming, more difficult, more expensive, potentially more acrimonious; 7) Insurance bond for percentage of the estate of the 'charge' will have to be paid yearly and isn't always easy to find.
My only sibling and I had to file for guardianship of my mother in Georgia to stop her from sending money out of the country to scammers, get her to accept the round-the-clock oversight she needed, and unfortunately "remove" from her some rights that she could no longer use with good judgement. As he and I were agreed, the process was somewhat simpler. And in GA the filing of all the financial and personal information with the court must be done once/year, not every six months. We also did not have to have a Guardian ad litem; my mother was assigned a public attorney to represent her at the Guardianship hearing who did a marginal job and was not required for anything further.
To recap, other posts here tell the truth of it. If the one for whom you care is agreeable, POA's and other legal instruments for caring are the MUCH better option; guardianship should be a last resort. Inform yourself and good luck to you!
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That is a good question. I'm in the process with the help of an elder care lawyer of getting a Guardianship of my parent who I live with. I already have a POA and somewhere there is also a Healthcare Directive, but the Directive has been misplaced and the Dr's are insisting I produce something. My parent has been diagnosed with Dementia and it is becoming increasingly evident they need to go into a care unit because I'm losing ground. From what I understand from our lawyer there has to be some sort of impairment where the person cannot balance risk or even knows to ask for help. Thank goodness I had it all well documented and a copy of all of the outcomes of the tests - it is now just a matter of having the Dr. fill out a short form and the lawyer to present it in court as soon as all of the paperwork is in order. I'm not sure how long it will take for a judgement or if I have to appear. The lawyer did ask if I wanted them to take care of it and that the whole thing would end up costing about 2k before it was all over with. I'm just relieved they would take it on. However - if I manage to locate the Directive we can stop the Guardianship from going forward and thereby save that cost. I'm going through papers and so far no hints as to where it might have been put. My parent who passed a few years ago had their Directive all in order and I remember seeing the other Directive, but that one has disappeared and I only can locate the deceased parent's Directive. Murphy's Law working overtime here.
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I believe it involves the mental impairment of the elder.
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patariamc: Great answer!
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