If your loved one starts showing signs of mental impairment, such as getting lost when away from home, leaving food on the stove or frequently forgetting their medication, it may be time to consider having a guardian appointed. Mental impairment can come from age, infirmity or long-term effects of medication. Whatever the cause, it is important not to let the problem reach the point that your parent becomes a danger to themselves or others.
The best solution, of course, would be to take care of your loved one informally with the help of family and friends. However, if more formal management or control of their affairs is required, guardianship may be the answer. In many cases, guardianship is the only way to have complete access to your parent’s affairs in a way that you can actually assist them.
What are the basic requirements for establishing a guardianship in Arkansas?
The person appointed by the court to manage the affairs of someone who is incapacitated is called a “guardian.” The person for whom the guardian is appointed is known as the “ward.” Before appointing a guardian, the court must determine that the intended ward is incapacitated and that a guardianship is needed to protect the ward’s interests. The court must also determine that the person who will be appointed is suitable and qualified to serve as guardian. In Arkansas, a person is qualified to be a guardian if they are a resident of the state, at least 18 years old, of sound mind and not a convicted or unpardoned felon.
A guardian can manage either the individual, their estate or both, depending on what is necessary. A guardian appointed to oversee the person, manages the ward’s physical health and well-being. Whereas, a guardian over the estate, takes care of the ward’s finances.
A power of attorney in Fayetteville Arkansas may be a better option.
Because of the seriousness of being found incapacitated and the resulting loss of individual rights, guardianships should often be an option of “last resort.” One way to avoid guardianship in Fayetteville Arkansas is by preparing durable powers of attorney for health care and property. The documents required to execute a power of attorney in Fayetteville Arkansas are not nearly as complicated as the guardianship appointment process, and oftentimes a power of attorney can be a much less expensive endeavor. More importantly, the agent for a power of attorney is chosen by the person executing the same, rather than the courts. Also, the named agent has the power and authority to take action without prior approval from the court.
It is best if a power of attorney is executed well before of any signs of diminished capacity are seen. If your parent seems to be losing their memory more and more, or simply does not have the ability to care for themselves adequately, consult an estate planning attorney as soon as possible. They may still be able to execute the power of attorney if they have sufficient cognitive ability. Otherwise, guardianship may be the only course of action left.