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What qualities should a legal guardian have?

As our parents get older, the unfortunate reality is that we often witness an upsetting decline in their physical and mental health. For parents with Alzheimer's disease, this can be particularly devastating as they may no longer recognize loved ones or understand what is in their best interests.

In these situations, family members often need to do more than check in from time to time. They may need to take legal action to protect the well-being of someone suffering from Alzheimer's disease. This can and often does involve assigning a legal guardian. However, it isn't necessarily as easy as just putting a child or spouse in charge. There are several factors and characteristics that should be taken in consideration when assigning guardianship.

A legal guardian should, among other things, be and willing and able to:

  • Manage finances responsibly and in accordance with the wishes of the person with Alzheimer's
  • Make decisions about where a person will live to ensure he or she is safe and properly cared for
  • Protect a loved one from being financially victimized
  • Prioritize the best interests of a loved one when making these decisions

Considering all the responsibilities and power that a guardian can have, it is crucial that this assignment not be made in haste or without the proper legal proceedings. It can also be important for the parties involved to discuss the situation with an attorney who understands the importance of caring for and protecting our vulnerable loved ones.

If you are currently considering your options for seeking, assigning or challenging guardianship for yourself or a loved one, you would be wise to consult a legal representative familiar with this complicated and sensitive area of law.

Source: Alzheimers.net,"How to Gain Guardianship for a Parent with Alzheimer's," accessed on June 4, 2015

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