Elderly Guardianship Law & Legal Definition


Elderly Guardianship refers to a situation where a court appoints an individual as a legal guardian for an elderly person who is deemed to be incapacitated, whether partly or fully. The individual appointed as legal guardian will be fully liable for the health and life of an elderly person.

An elderly guardian is generally appointed once a court determines the elderly person to be incompetent. The specific requirements for incompetency vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. However, the general rule for determining incompetency is whether or not the individual can still make informed decisions regarding his or her affairs and he or she can meet his or her financial and physical needs. If the elderly individual proves to do otherwise, then he or she is determined to be in need of elderly guardianship. A court can limit an elderly guardianship to certain areas. For example, if an elderly man is able to make decisions about finances but can no longer physically care for himself, the court may limit the guardianship to overseeing the man’s physical needs.

Usually an immediate member, close relative or friend of the family is appointed as the guardian. The guardian appointed must be a competent person over the age of 18, and without criminal record. If the person whom the court has appointed legal guardian refuses to take the elderly guardianship, the court may appoint a private or public agency, even an attorney, as legal guardian.

An elderly guardianship can be terminated when the elderly person demonstrates that he or she has regained capacity to make informed and educated decisions. A guardianship may also be modified if a current legal guardian becomes unwilling or is unable to continue to serve as guardian.