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Guardianship may be your best option for protecting a vulnerable loved one

Many Canadians plan for the onset of mental incapacity by appointing an Attorney for Personal Care and an Attorney for Property. These powers of attorney allow someone other than the incapable individual to make decisions regarding his or her finances, health and living arrangements.

Sometimes, though, concerned family members or friends discover that their loved one has not created these powers of attorney, and this oversight has left the loved one vulnerable to harm. What, then, can you do for your parent, friend or other family member who is no longer able to make sound financial and medical decisions? Your best option may be to speak with a lawyer about establishing guardianship.

If you intend to have someone named as guardian of your loved one, then you will need to obtain a capacity assessor's opinion. This person may be a psychologist, doctor, registered nurse, social worker or occupational therapist.

In fact, we discussed capacity assessment in a blog post earlier this year. One important thing to note is that the assessment must be specific to the kind of decision-making in question. Is your loved one incapable of making decisions in a single category -- finances, health care or living arrangements -- or does the incapacity pertain to all three?

At Hagel Lawfirm, we help concerned family members and friends put in applications for guardianship. These matters often arise at a time of difficulty and worry. To ensure that your loved one is protected, it is crucial to take the proper legal steps.

Please see our guardianship overview to learn more.

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