When a loved one is unable to care for him or herself, family members may struggle to make the best choices. There may be financial concerns, such as managing the estate of an elderly parent who is showing signs of dementia. Perhaps most urgently, family and friends may worry about the health and well-being of their loved one. At some point, they may have to reach an agreement about whether guardianship is the best option.
In Colorado, conservators are court-appointed to oversee the financial issues for those who cannot manage for themselves. Guardians, however, have a more personal role. They have authority to make decisions for the individual related to health care, living arrangements and other matters in an effort to keep the individual safe and maintain his or her dignity. Typically, guardianship is a useful legal option for those who may have Alzheimer’s, brain injuries, mental disabilities or other conditions.
By law, any adult certified by the court can become the conservator or guardian of an individual. If the person is a relative of the individual, he or she may serve in both capacities. However, if families cannot agree on the appointment of a guardian or conservator, or they do not have the ability to provide the required care, the court may appoint a professional guardian. A professional may not take both roles.
While making such a decision can be difficult, family and friends certainly want the best for their loved one. Often, seeking guardianship is the best way to protect a vulnerable person from abuse or negative influence. However, the guardianship process can be complex, and often family members have many questions and concerns. Seeking advice from a compassionate Colorado attorney may help alleviate some of the anxiety.