When it comes to getting appointed as guardian of a loved one, just how disabled does the person need to be before the court will decide that they need a guardian?
The rules concerning guardianship of an adult are stringent due to the fact that when a guardianship is appointed, it takes away many of the rights that someone has. Once there is a guardian they can control where a person lives, what they do, when they receive medical treatment, etc. Due to the seriousness of appointing a guardian over an adult citizen, the court must find that the person is mentally incapacitated.
The general guideline to determine if someone is mentally incapacitated they must be severely limited in their ability to process information and to communicate. This disability must bad enough that the person can no longer attend to what is required to ensure their safety and physical well being. This means that the person cannot perform the tasks that would be necessary to ensure that they got health care, food, shelter, clothing, personal grooming, etc.
The impairment usually has to be due to the persons ability to think or communicate. What this means is that even if you are completely paralyzed, as long as you can think clear enough to make decisions and have a means of communicating those decisions, the court will not appoint a guardian.
Although the rules regarding a guardianship appointment are strict, it is essential to understand that the reason for guardianship in the first place to protect someone who is vulnerable. If a judge sees that someone is at risk for some type of injury, they may appoint a guardian, even if the persons condition does not meet the exact rules according to the law books.
To best understand how guardianship works and if it may be a necessary step to protect a loved one, you will want to contact an attorney that specializes in elder law for advice. An attorney can advise you on what steps to take to gain guardianship over your loved one, or if it is even something that you should do at all.