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Choosing a legal guardian in an emergency situation

If you have a family member who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, you likely realize that at some point, his or her ability to make decisions will become severely impaired. At such a time, it can be extremely beneficial for your loved one to have a guardian. A guardian can perform many important functions, such as making sure your loved one receives proper medical care and remains in a dignified and safe living environment.

Ideally, guardian arrangements should be made before your loved one becomes too vulnerable. But sometimes it is hard to judge an older person's capacities. Moreover, some older people are resistant to the idea of being looked after, preferring to take care of their own affairs. As such, it is possible for circumstances to transpire that require the immediate assistance of a guardian.

For example, if you find out that someone is attempting to financially exploit your loved one, it is imperative to put a halt to those efforts. Sadly, there are far too many scam artists who specifically target elderly people. And a guardian can act to shield your loved one from being taken advantage of.

But even if you need to assign a guardian as soon as possible, it is still a good idea to consult with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney. An attorney can explain the full responsibilities of a guardian and help you make the decision that best suits you and your loved one's needs. By working with an attorney at the outset of your quest for a guardian, you will lessen the likelihood of having family disputes or other serious issues as time goes on.

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