In Pennsylvania, guardianships are important legal options for family members concerned about the welfare of a child who is turning 18 but may be disabled or has special needs as well as for family members concerned about an elderly adult who may be suffering from dementia. Guardianships for loved ones can help concerned family members care for their loved ones and make financial and medical decisions when needed.
Guardianships may be possible for the care of both disabled children turning 18 and of older adults suffering from dementia, which allows the family member or concerned party to ensure that the loved one is receiving good care, that finances are properly managed and that daily needs are effectively met. Guardianships help families enjoy peace of mind knowing that their loved one’s needs and finances are being properly protected and handled.
When a loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s, there can be a variety of challenges that families face, especially when no prior planning has been done by the loved one. Likewise, families with disabled children who have reached 18 and are legally adults may face a number of different challenges to ensure that the child continues to receive government benefits, such as Social Security and Medicaid
To establish guardianships, it is necessary to file a petition in Orphans’ Court and to have a court hearing where medical evidence is offered, which may be followed with a finding by the court that the loved one is incapacitated. The court may then appoint a guardian to make medical decisions for the loved one and to look after the loved one’s financial affairs.
There can be legal complexities associated with seeking or opposing guardianships, which is why it is important to have legal counsel who is familiar with those options and the processes surrounding them.
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