Summerville Guardianship Lawyer
Guardianship is a legal tool used to protect incapacitated people who are unable to properly care for themselves. Guardianship is generally used for elderly wards, though younger individuals with certain disabilities and illnesses may benefit from a parent or other family member becoming their guardian as well. In order to become a guardian, you must petition the court and prove that the individual cannot make medical and day-to-day decisions for themselves and that they require the care of another person, you, to prevent them from being harmed. Our experienced Summerville guardianship lawyers at Shelbourne Law can help you become a guardian so that you have full legal decision making for your loved one.
Definition of an Incapacitated Person
Just because someone makes bad decisions for themselves, such as gambling away their pension check every month, does not mean that they are incapacitated. According to South Carolina Courts, an incapacitated person is someone who is impaired due to:
- Mental illness;
- Developmental disability;
- Physical illness;
- Advanced age;
- Chronic use of drugs or alcohol, or
- Another cause.
Alzheimer’s dementia and cognitive impairment due to advanced age are the two most common forms of impairment for elderly people in need of guardianship. In order to become a guardian, you must prove that the individual is subject to being harmed in some way by not having a guardianship. This could mean wandering out into traffic, forgetting to take life-saving prescription medication, or not properly caring for their hygienical and nutritional needs. Guardianship does not, however, involve making financial decisions for the ward, which is the role of conservatorship. Becoming a guardian is a huge responsibility. Guardians have decision making abilities regarding the ward’s medical care, living arrangements, food, clothing, and more.
Guardianship Means Stripping Away Civil Liberties
Becoming a ward strips individuals of many of their civil liberties. It may mean that they cannot vote, are not allowed to drive a car, make their own medical decisions, and much more. South Carolina law even allows guardians to refuse a ward’s right to visit others. Under statute S.C. Prob. Code § 62-5-304A, the guardian does not even have to establish that such visitation would cause harm to the ward. This is just one example of the vast scope of responsibilities that guardians are given, and of the civil rights taken from the ward. Similarly, while an incapacitated person may not wish to move into a nursing home or assisted living facility, once they become a ward they lose their legal decision-making ability to choose where they live. You may fully comprehend the degree of incapacitation of your elderly parent or other loved one, but it can sometimes be difficult to prove in court, where strict evidence is needed to what essentially amounts to stripping away that person’s rights. It may be in their best interest, but the court does not take guardianship lightly, and you and your attorney must be prepared to prove your case.
A Summerville Guardianship Lawyer Can Help
Here at Shelbourne Law, we understand that you want the best for your elderly parent, disabled child, or other loved one. Call our experienced Summerville guardianship attorneys at 843-871-2210 to schedule a free consultation today so that we can get started at once.