At some point in your life you may be faced with the difficult decision to pursue guardianship/conservatorship in South Carolina over a family member or loved one. Like most people, you may struggle with the decision; however, failing to pursue guardianship and/or conservatorship may result in serious injury or victimization of your loved one. A better understanding of what guardianship and/or conservatorship is in South Carolina may be beneficial to your decision making process.
Although the average life expectancy of an American has increased dramatically over the last century, living longer does not mean the natural aging process slows down any. As a result, people are living longer but often spending those extra years with physical and/or mental conditions that lead to incapacity. As the loved one of an elderly individual who is showing signs of incapacity you are likely concerned for your loved one’s well-being – and rightly so. All too often incapacity leads to physical injuries, mental confusion, and/or financial victimization by those who prey on the elderly and disabled. One way to prevent such outcomes is to become a guardian and/or conservator for your loved one.
A guardian is someone who is granted the right to make medical and personal decisions for the ward. A “ward” is someone who has been determined to be incapacitated and, therefore, unable to make those decisions for himself/herself. A conservator is someone who has been granted the right to make decisions relating to the estate of the ward. As guardian, for example, you might be able to decide where the ward lives and/or with which doctor the ward treats. As conservator you might be able to decide what bills to pay and/or which assets belonging to the ward to sell. Both a guardianship and a conservatorship will be tailored by the court to be the least restrictive possible. In other words, the court will only give you control over matters that the court is convinced the ward cannot handle himself/herself.
To become a guardian and/or conservator (you can be either, or both) you must first petition the appropriate court. The court must first decide that the ward needs a guardian/conservator and then decide that you are an appropriate person to appoint.
The guardianship/conservatorship process can be lengthy and complicated. If you are concerned that your loved one may need a guardian and/or conservator in the future it is in your best interest to consult with an experienced South Carolina elder law attorney immediately. Contact the experienced South Carolina elder law attorneys at Kuhn & Kuhn Law Firm by calling 843-577-3700 to schedule your appointment.