When is a Guardianship Needed?

Often times, people pertain to our office looking for guidance about how to handle a relative whose irregular or eccentric habits is causing issue.

Where do you draw the line between being eccentric and needing intervention?
It’s time to step in when there is genuine physical danger– when a person’s behavior has put him or her in a state that could cause genuine harm.

For example, a female lives alone in her home and refuses to come out, does not consume properly, and does not take prescribed medication. Your house is exceptionally unclean and chaotic. That sort of behavior with no type of intervention would lead to death.
Or perhaps a male roams out in the middle of the night in his pajamas when it is 20 degrees outside. He does not know where he is and doesn’t remember where his house is. That sort of behavior would put him in risk.

It’s time to step in when somebody has a mental-health problem– generally dementia– that has led to dangerous habits. It is not uncommon for a person with dementia to act out in a violent manner because of fear and delusion. He or she may physically attack a partner or caregiver.
It’s time to step in when an individual has shown a severe absence of judgment when it pertains to cash and is at risk for ending up being impoverished. This is typically a person who has actually been the victim of some type of financial abuse. Maybe a family member or somebody who’s been admitted to the person’s bank account has stolen loan from the account. Possibly a dishonest individual has tricked the individual.

What about an individual who addicted to a house shopping program on tv? Is that a reason to step in?
But if she is spending what she can afford or even a bit more– well we have actually all been foolish. We may not like what the person is doing with his or cash, however we need to keep in mind that a skilled person does have the right to invest his or her cash. However, it is very difficult for adult children to see their parents doing something that the parents would have told them was stupid.

One thing to be familiar with is behavior that is uncharacteristic. Say if Mommy has never given extravagant presents and has actually always been evenhanded with presents to her kids. Suddenly one of her children is driving a Porsche that he states Mama gave him as a gift. This might be an indication that something is wrong. Does Mommy remember providing him the automobile? Is she fully knowledgeable about what she is doing or is she confused?
The time to act is when the behavior is putting an individual at danger for going through all his/her loan and having absolutely nothing delegated live on. These are all really great examples of scenarios where a guardianship need to be checked out.