Why is a guardianship necessary? A guardianship is a legal proceeding whereby an individual (the “ward) is determined to be incapacitated, their rights are taken away, and a guardian is appointed to take care of the ward and exercise the legal rights of the ward. If someone becomes incapacitated and cannot handle their financial affairs or cannot physically take care of themselves, a guardianship might be necessary.
Terri Schaivo is a perfect example of why a guardianship might be necessary and of why it does not matter how old you are – it is never too late (or early) to have proper planning in place so that a guardianship might be avoided. If you have a Durable Power of Attorney where you appoint someone to handle your financial affairs and a Designation of Healthcare Surrogate where you appoint someone to handle your health care issues, then it may be possible to avoid a guardianship because someone that you appointed will have authority to act on your behalf.