Guardianship is a legal process designed to protect vulnerable persons from abuse, neglect (including self-neglect), and exploitation. Guardianship provides for the person’s care and management of his or her money while preserving, to the largest extent possible, that person’s independence and right to make decisions affecting his or her life.
The main reason for a guardianship is to expedite needed medical care, but there are also other reasons. A guardian of the person is responsible for his ward’s health and personal care. A guardian of the estate manages his ward’s assets and is accountable to the court in so doing. A single individual may serve in both capacities. People become incapacitated due to disease, injury, or developmental disability. No matter what the cause, the decision to seek guardianship is often painful and difficult for the alleged incapacitated person and his or her family members.