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When to Establish a Guardianship for a Family Member

As adults, we cherish our ability to manage our lives. Unfortunately, certain situations jeopardize this ability when we don’t act in our best interests. When this happens, a guardianship may be something that family members need to explore. The experienced Aiken County family law attorneys at Surasky Law Firm, LLC, can guide you through the process. The following outlines what you need to know about a guardianship and when it may be the best solution to ensure your loved ones are protected.

What Is a Guardianship?

A guardianship protects an adult who is incapacitated. When a third party is given the authority to make decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf, it prevents them from making poor choices regarding their care, management of property, funds, or other assets.

To establish a guardianship, you need to file a petition with the court and provide evidence showing why it is needed. Common situations in which a guardianship may be granted include:

  • When someone is seriously injured as the result of an accident or violent crime and is unable to communicate or manage their own affairs

  • When an older adult struggles with impairments such as dementia or other serious illnesses

  • When a loved one has physical, emotional, or intellectual disabilities that leave them unable to make decisions on their own

  • When a family member struggles with alcohol, drugs, or mental illness and is in danger of hurting themselves or others

A guardianship is less restrictive than other types of proceedings, such as a mental health commitment. However, it does strip the individual of their right to independently decide matters on their own. As a result, it is likely to be met with varying degrees of resistance, both by the incapacitated person and by other family members.

Guardianship Proceedings In South Carolina

Guardianship proceedings in our area are initiated through the Aiken County Probate Court. Our family law attorney can file the appropriate legal documents on your behalf. These will show evidence of the person’s incapacitated condition, such as:

  • Medical records

  • Statements from doctors or other medical providers

  • Statements from friends or family members

  • Police reports pertaining to any dangerous conduct

  • Records showing how the personal or financial affairs of the person have been adversely impacted by their condition.

The judge will review the evidence before making a determination. If a guardianship is awarded, the guardian will need to provide regular updates on the situation and notify the court before making any major decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf.

Let Us Help You Today

At the Surasky Law Firm, LLC, we provide the caring client service and professional legal guidance you need when dealing with sensitive family matters, such as establishing a guardianship. To discuss your options, contact our Aiken family law attorneys and request a consultation today.

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