Guardianship litigation often is complex and contentious. In some scenarios, it pits one party against another, turning into a nasty tug of war. And the person in need of care gets caught in the middle.
A delicate balance must be struck. On one side, there is compassion for an incapacitated relative. On the other, there is strident advocacy for family members protecting their interests. This can make for a combustible atmosphere and heated disagreements.
Questioning guardian choice
Why does guardianship litigation surface? There are few reasons that stand out:
- Does an authentic need exist?: You may object to others who seek to establish guardianship over you. You do not think that you need one, contending that your mental and physical capacities remain intact and that you can continue to care for yourself. Instead, you may suggest alternatives to guardianship such as power of attorney and creation of a revocable trust.
- The guardian choice: Big disputes surface in these scenarios. A person may object to the proposed guardian, intervening and insisted that he or she would be more appropriate and suitable. Those coming forward to object may include family members, caring friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They just may think that the suggested person is ill-suited for the guardian role.
- Concern that the guardian has abused his or her powers: Although a guardian’s role and actions remain under scrutiny and the oversight of the courts, legal actions still surface. Concerned relatives and friends may vehemently disagree with some of the choices made by the guardian.
- Guardian seeking permission: A guardian must gain the court’s permission to fulfill certain actions. Some of them may include whether to place the person into a long-term care facility, selling the person’s home and other assets or changing a will and beneficiaries. A party may legally contest any of these situations – primarily those related to finances.
In certain situations involving guardianships, disputes surface and litigation becomes likely. Emotional and financial tolls surface, too. However, if you — as an advocate for an incapacitated loved one — see the need for changes, then guardianship litigation represents an action to pursue.