Guardianship has become very popular as the U.S. population ages at a rapid rate. There are mainly two types of guardians as they include guardianship of the person and guardianship of property.

A guardian who in charge of a person will make decisions regarding a disabled person’s medical care while a guardian of a property will make decisions regarding the disabled person’s finances. Most often these two parties are the same person.

To become a guardian the person who wants to be a guardian has to prove that the disabled person lacks the mental capacity to make decisions themselves. When a guardianship is requested, a court order is issued, and an attorney is immediately appointed to represent the disabled person and to ensure the process is fair.

In most cases, family members are guardians to the disabled family member. However, due to legal roadblocks, guardian’s will find it difficult to make decisions in the best interest of the disabled person. Therefore, hiring an attorney to represent and assist the disabled person and the guardian is often necessary.

Receiving guardianship will take many months once the papers are filed. After an attorney is allotted to represent the disabled person, the court will establish if there is a need for a guardian and what areas the guardian will handle. The court will look at each case individually. Courts will consider financial, medical and basic needs decisions when finalizing their decision. Some guardians can also be given the authority to retain assets, borrow, buy and sell property, negotiate with creditors, enter into contracts for the disabled person. Non-family members can also become legal guardians, however often this process will involve more documentation.