Is there anything I can do to protect myself from a guardianship?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 22, 2016
Mcfly asked...

Is there anything I can do to protect myself from Guardianship? In other words; protect my rights? Case in Point: My sister put me in a private board n care in a city far from from friends to visit me, I can't stand it here! I have less expensive alternatives with excellent care in cities I know and close to friends. Problem; Sister threatening Guardianship.

Bottom line my family doesn't want anything to do with me. I'm 50 y/o male, very intelligent, fully cognizant and fully capable to make decisions. I was diagnosed with ALS seven years ago, it Does Not affect my brain function.

Sincerely, John M.


Expert Answers

Barbara Repa, a Caring.com senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

A guardianship is a fairly drastic step. Do secure one, your sister would have to go to court and convince a judge you are unable to manage your own affairs and that you need someone else to do it for you. You have the right to appear at that hearing"”and to convince the judge that a guardianship is not necessary. If you feel your sister would not make a competent guardian for you, you also have the right to explain how and why that is true.

You would also have the right to produce additional evidence from others, such as friends and neighbors who know you, who will vouch that what you say is true.

So by being logical and thorough and getting your ducks in a row by sketching out your explanation as well as getting written statements or an agreement from friends who will testify for you, you should be able to protect yourself from coming under your sister's wing. As additional protection, however, you might want to have someone in mind you feel would make a good guardian for you, just in case a judge wants to appoint one, even temporarily.

Finally, if you are truly unhappy with your current board and care facility, you may be able to get help on your own to find out what other options may be available to you. Start this step by contacting the local ombudsman"”the objective third party trained to help residents solve problems in a facility. You should be able to find contact information at: www.ltcombudsman.org. The ombudsman's office may also know of local groups that may be able to help with alternative housing for you.