The Guardianship Process for Incapacitated Adults
It is a well-known fact that we are living longer. With all of the medical advances made over the past several decades, many of the conditions that were once fatal are now curable. However, with that longevity come other issues because as people grow older, other medical problems can develop. Those health issues can render individuals unable to care for themselves or make good decisions. This is where elder law in Missouri comes in, as a way to help protect these at-risk people. There are also terrible accidents that can occur, causing catastrophic injuries that also leave adults – young and old – incapacitated. At Legacy Law Center, we focus on elder law in Missouri because we care about these members of society who deserve our protection and compassion.
When situations like this arise, it is often necessary for a family member or friend to apply for guardianship with the help of an attorney who practices elder law in Missouri. Charles J. Moore of Legacy Law Center can help you take care of your loved one. Guardianship must be granted by the courts. The purpose is twofold:
- Someone needs to make their personal decisions for the incapacitated individual, such as household and medical decisions and
- Someone needs to make their financial decisions.
The court can appoint someone to make these decisions or they can appoint two different guardians; one for personal decisions and one for financial decisions. Call us at Legacy Law Center to find out more.
What are the qualifications to be appointed someone’s guardian?
Each state has their own laws regarding guardianship and other issues regarding elder law in Missouri. However, there are some general rules that will typically apply in every state. The person who is appointed must be at least 18-years-old and living in the United States. They must not have any prior felony convictions and must have the mental capacity to care for another individual. If the disabled person wants the petitioner as their guardian, the court will likely take that into consideration. However, the judge is under no obligation to do so.
What are the responsibilities of a guardian?
Guardianship carries with it huge responsibilities so it is critical to be fully aware and informed of what will be expected. An attorney who practices elder law in Missouri such as Charles J. Moore of Legacy Law Center can provide you with the information you need. Some of the responsibilities of a guardian may include any of the following:
- Ensuring the individual is physically cared for and kept safe.
- Making all medical decisions for the individual.
- Making financial decisions for the individual and making sure all of their bills and other financial obligations are paid.
- Making sure all medical, educational, and other needs are being met.
- Submitting periodic reports to the court to update them on the individual’s mental, physical, and financial status.
A guardian may or may not be responsible for the everyday care of the at-risk individual. This usually depends on the relationship and other circumstances. For example, a spouse who has been named guardian for an individual who still lives at home would likely take care of those needs. But if the individual was living in a nursing home, the spouse would not be handling those needs; instead, they should be handled by the nursing home staff. If the person is being mistreated or neglected, contact an elder law attorney in Missouri such as Charles J. Moore of Legacy Law Center. He can provide you with the information you need to take action and protect the person.
If you wish to be appointed a guardian for someone in your life, contact an elder law attorney in Missouri who can evaluate the situation and determine the legal steps you will need to take. Your elder law attorney may file a petition with the court which will be followed with a hearing. The court will then decide whether or not to make the appointment based on the evidence your attorney presents.
Medicaid is a public benefits program structured to provide health coverage to low-income individuals, including those who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. The program acts as a safety net to those seniors who can not afford to cover all of their own long-term costs. In Missouri, most medicaid benefits are available only in skilled nursing facilities (a nursing home as opposed to an assisted living facility).
With recent changes in the government regulation of Medicaid, seniors must be proactive when planning for their coverage. Changes from the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 have resulted in complex eligibility requirements for those in need of Medicaid benefits. It’s no longer as easy as reviewing one’s bank statements – there are a myriad of regulations including: look-back periods, income caps, transfer penalties and waiting periods to plan around. In addition to the federal laws, eligibility can also differ by state quite substantially.
Anyone attempting to apply for Medicaid here in Missouri needs to know the rules. Certain actions with respect to assets can lead to penalties which can delay receiving Medicaid benefits.
HOW CAN LEGACY LAW CENTER HELP?
We can determine whether the client can qualify for Medicaid benefits and the best way to get approved right away.