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Establishing guardianship

An accident or illness can strike suddenly. One minute, the Colorado resident is able to take care of himself/herself and make the necessary day-to-day decisions that must be made. However, all of a sudden, something has happened, and the individual is no longer able to do so. When this happens, it may be necessary for a loved one or another individual to take over guardianship responsibilities for the incapacitated individual.

If this scenario has been planned for, plans for guardianship may be in place. This makes the process much smoother. However, in many cases, guardianship has not been formally established, and it may be necessary for the court to appoint a guardian.

The guardian is responsible for making the day-to-day decisions for the individual, including where he/she will live, how finances will be handled and what medical services the individual will receive. While the guardian is not necessarily the one who will actually provide the necessary services, he/she is responsible for making sure that the individual's needs are addressed. Additionally, the guardian keeps the court updated on the status of the individual in relationship to his/her guardianship duties.

Once a loved one becomes ill or injured, it may be too late for that individual to appoint someone to act as guardian. In this case, it will be necessary to petition the Colorado courts to appoint one. When a family finds themselves in this situation, or an individual decides to go ahead and take the steps to establish his/her wishes just in case guardianship is needed, it is time to discuss the matter with legal counsel.

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