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Man's death reveals need for carefully planned guardianship

When people cannot make medical or financial decisions for themselves, a guardianship may be the best way to ensure their protection. Though some people worry that establishing guardianship renders a person incapable of making his or her own decisions, that is not the case. Guardianships may be the best solution for an elderly person and his or her family here in Colorado, and they can hire a professional to fill the role if necessary. Whoever the appointed person is, it's important that he or she is fully qualified and keeps the needs of the subject of the guardianship front and center. One out-of-state family is dealing with this issue right now, as they allege that the professional guardian of their loved one may be responsible for his death.

The daughter of the man who died claims that his professional guardian filed a "do not resuscitate" order for him without proper permission. She says that she filed a complaint to have the DNR removed, but that her father died four days later. Officials soon discovered this wasn't the first complaint filed about this guardian. Another family said that the guardian lied about provided medical care for their relative. Both families say these complaints were not investigated in a timely manner by the proper authorities.

The state's Office of Public and Professional Guardians has come under fire due to these complaints. Some officials connected with the Department of Elder Affairs have resigned over the fallout, including one who a source claims was frustrated by the inability to administer disciplinary action to guardians. State officials are concerned that the aging population and limited funding will only add to these problems.

No matter how this particular case turns out, it shows just how important it is for a Colorado family to choose a respected and trustworthy guardian for their loved one. A guardianship should be carefully considered. Involving an attorney with extensive experience in implementing them could be helpful.

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