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Taking legal action to remove a guardianship

As we age, it's common to experience some degree of diminishing physical and mental capacity. According to the Alzheimer's Association, an estimated 11 percent of U.S. adults age 65 and older has the disease. What's more, in the coming years, the number of individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's is expected to increase as baby boomers continue to age.

In cases where an individual lacks the mental capacity to make sound decisions, steps may be taken by a family member to establish a guardianship. When a guardian is named for an individual, he or she is legally granted the power to make decisions for the individual related to basic everyday necessities, medical care and the management of financial accounts.

In cases where the courts appoint a guardianship, certain limits may be established to help maintain an individual’s sense of control and dignity. In general the courts view a guardian as being an individual who helps "facilitate the independence and self-reliance," of an incapacitated individual.

Unfortunately, there are cases where appointed guardians fail to act in the best interests of those they are entrusted to help and protect. In cases where other family members are concerned about the level of care being provided to or amount of control over an individual by a guardian, a petition to remove a guardianship may be filed with the court.

Common reasons cited in guardianship removal petitions include neglect, mismanagement of assets, abuse and violation of court orders. An attorney who handles probate litigation matters can assist family members in helping protect and provide for the best possible care of a loved one.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Guardianship Overview," June 1, 2015

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