Guardianship Lawyer in Columbus, Ohio

A guardianship may be necessary if an individual has the inability to handle financial or health care decisions for themselves. In a guardianship, an individual (or organization) will be appointed to make health care decisions or financial decisions for the "ward" (the person who is the subject of a guardianship).

A guardianship may be appropriate in many situations, but can be avoided relatively easily if there are individuals who are able and willing to help, and where the person needing help has put the proper documents in place "before" the potential ward loses the ability to make health care and financial decisions for themselves.

Before a guardianship is granted, a Probate Court, may consider whether a Power of Attorney (financial) and a Health Care Power of Attorney are in place. In the event that the appropriate documents are in place, but the person given the authority fails to or is unable to make appropriate decisions, a guardianship still may be needed.

Guardians of ten have a tall task, especially when it comes to the recurring requirement to get court approval for many items. It may not be a bad idea to have an attorney assist with the myriad and complex requirements of a guardian, or discuss preventing the need for a guardianship altogether.

Financial Power of Attorney

A Financial Power of Attorney, as discussed under our guardianship section, may prevent the need of a court appointed guardian for financial decisions. The presence of this document coupled with a willing and able "agent" (or "attorney-in-fact") may make a guardianship less likely.

A financial power of attorney is a document where an individual (the "principal") grants a third-party ("agent" or "attorney-in-fact") the power to do certain things. The powers granted can be limited, specific, or very broad. A financial power of attorney can also allow the "attorney-in-fact" to act immediately or in the future (a "springing power of attorney").

A Financial Power of Attorney can become very important in the event of temporary or permanent incompetency. It has many benefits but also carries with it risks. You should contact an attorney who can evaluate your specific situation and discuss both the benefits and the risks with you.

Health Care Power of Attorney and Living Will

Another document that may make the granting of a guardianship less likely is a "Health Care Power of Attorney." A health care power of attorney is a document that allows for a third-party ("agent") to make health care decisions for the individual ("principal"). A health care power of attorney generally is "springing", meaning that if the "principal" is able to make health care decisions, then the "principal" cannot. Also, in the event that a "principal" is temporarily unable to make health care decisions, then the "agent" can only make decisions during that temporary period of time.

The "principal" may indicate special instructions or wishes that the "agent" should follow relating to specific medical care.

A "Living Will" deals with end of life decisions where the individual is in a permanently unconscious state. A "Living Will" does two primary things - first, it tells the care provider who to contract; and second, it provides what they can and cannot do. Even though a person can indicate their wishes in end of life situations, it is possible to leave these decisions up to the health care power of attorney.

These documents can seem simple, but require much thought and consideration. For these reasons, it may not be a bad idea to discuss your specific wishes and desires with an attorney with the experience to guide you in the right direction based on your desires. Contact Lawson Legal today and let us help you with your Guardianship needs at 614-600-2603 or by email.

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