As people age, guardianship becomes a concern for many.
As you get older, your health will decline.
Whether this involves disability or cognitive decline, you could be placed under a guardian.
Guardianships are not to be taken lightly.
Guardianships strip autonomy and other rights from American adults.
According to a recent Reading Eagle article reviewing court dockets in three counties titled “Finding solutions to Pennsylvania's troubled system of naming guardians,” this a growing issue in Pennsylvania.
This is putting pressure on the court and guardianship system in Pennsylvania.
Consequently, Pennsylvania is seeking to remedy some of the systemic issues.
What are some of the issues?
There has been a growth in agencies taking on the roles traditionally held by the families of aging adults.
In addition, the rights of those who are placed in guardianships are limited or removed completely.
Many times these seniors do not need to be appear before the court for their fates to be determined.
The attorneys appointed for these individuals do not legally have to fight against an guardianship appointment.
Another issue concerns the guardians themselves.
There is no law standardizing qualifications for who can become a guardian.
There is not even a background check requirement.
What are solutions being presented?
Some recommend other option allowing family members and friends to help seniors make decisions without stripping all of their rights.
This could also save on the cost of care in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.
Another reform is one dealing with oversight after a guardian has been appointed.
This would involve monitoring and reporting on guardians.
In fact, Pennsylvania is already working on this.
By the end of 2018, Pennsylvania is hoping to have a statewide management system in place to identify and remove unethical guardians.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Reading (PA) Eagle (March 6, 2018) “Finding solutions to Pennsylvania's troubled system of naming guardians”