Guardianship Services for the Elderly
Guardianship Services for the Elderly
By: Wilmington Trust

The U.S. Office of Aging reported that by the year 2050, the average life expectancy will be 92 years for women and 90 years for men - approximately double what it was at the beginning of the twentieth century. Thus, in the decades to come, a larger percentage of people may require specialized care as they grow older and live longer.

According to Patricia Maisano, president of IKOR Quality Care Consultants, a provider of services for caregivers, the dilemma of how to help older people will intensify. Ms. Maisano has observed several trends developing among elderly people as they move to retirement areas:

In order for a caregiver to be legally permitted to make decisions for an incapacitated family member, he or she must petition the court to be appointed guardian of the disabled individual (or ward). Guardianship is approved for persons who are declared incompetent to make informed decisions, provide for themselves, or manage their affairs. Each individual's situation is unique. The Court gives a guardian the right to make certain decisions on behalf of the ward, imposing only those conditions that are necessary to ensure the ward's well being. Guardians may be authorized to make decisions such as:

A petitioner may request a specific individual or professional service to serve as guardian, or the court may appoint an individual or firm located within the area. Companies providing professional guardianship service can offer an objective voice and become a liaison between family members. They are generally insured and bonded, and their hourly rates vary by the type of assistance required. In addition, the court must approve all invoices for their services.

Guardianship involves taking away an individual's rights. Therefore, it should be pursued only after less restrictive actions have been considered, such as appointing a power of attorney to make specific decisions or a representative payee to handle benefit checks.

Planning for incapacity before the condition develops by executing Power of Attorney documents is the best way for a person to avoid the possibility of a court-appointed guardianship. One may appoint a Durable Power of Attorney to attend to his or her finances should he or she become disabled due to injury or illness, and a Medical Power of Attorney to make medical decisions in the event that he or she is unable to do so.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the sale of any financial product or service or as a determination that any investment strategy is suitable for a specific investor. Investors should seek financial advice regarding the suitability of any investment strategy based on their objectives, financial situations, and particular needs. This article is not designed or intended to provide financial, tax, legal, accounting, or other professional advice since such advice always requires consideration of individual circumstances. If professional advice is needed, the services of a professional advisor should be sought.

Help  |  Site Map  |  Privacy / Security  |  Terms of Use  |  Careers  |  Locations  |  Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors  |  Wilmington Funds  |  WTRIS  |  M&T Bank  |  Press Releases  |  Login

Need help, visit our Contact Us page.

© 2016 Wilmington Trust Corporation and its affiliates. All rights reserved.

Wilmington Trust is a registered service mark. Wilmington Trust Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of M&T Bank Corporation (M&T). Investment management and fiduciary services are provided by Wilmington Trust Company, operating in Delaware only, Wilmington Trust, N.A., a national bank, and M&T Bank. International corporate and institutional services are offered through Wilmington Trust Corporation's international affiliates. Loans, credit cards, retail and business deposits, and other business and personal banking services and products are offered by M&T Bank.

Wilmington Trust Investment Advisors, Inc., a subsidiary of M&T Bank, is a SEC-registered investment adviser providing investment management services to Wilmington Trust and M&T Bank's affiliates and clients.

 Investment and Insurance Products:
  • Are NOT Deposits.  • Are NOT FDIC-Insured.  • Are NOT Insured By Any Federal Government Agency.  • Have NO Bank Guarantee.  • May Go Down In Value.  

Brokerage services and insurance products are offered by M&T Securities, Inc. (member FINRA/SIPC), not by M&T Bank, Wilmington Trust Company, or Wilmington Trust, N.A.

Private Banking is the marketing name for an offering of M&T Bank deposit and loan products and services.

M&T Bank, Member FDIC and Equal Housing Lender NMLS #381076 Equal Housing Lender