A guardian is a person lawfully invested with the power and charged with the duty of taking care of the person and managing the property and rights of another person, who, for because of age (i.e. child), mental incapacity (i.e. Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease), or self-control (i.e. drug abuser) is unable to care and mange his/her own affairs.

In Pennsylvania, a court may appoint a guardian of the person and/or of the estate for an individual who lives in Pennsylvania and a guardian of the estate for a person who has property in Pennsylvania if it determines after a hearing that the individual is “mentally incapacitated.” It is the petitioner’s burden to establish by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent is incapacitated. 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §5511(a).

The proceeding is initiated when an interested person files a petition in the Court of Common Pleas, Orphans Court Division for the appointment of a guardian for a person or the person’s estate. The information to be included in the Petition is governed by 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5511(e).

Any qualified individual, corporate fiduciary, non-profit corporation, or county agency may serve as guardian. 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5511(f). If no other person is willing or qualified to serve, a guardianship support agency may be appointed by the court. 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5553(a). The guardian must not have interests that conflict with those of the incapacitated person unless no alternative exists. 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5511(f). For persons residing in state facilities, the guardianship office may be appointed guardian of the estate. 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §5511(f).

If you need an attorney with knowledge and experience of legal guardianship, contact us today for your free consultation.

“Mental incapacity”

The statute defines an incapacitated person as one whose ability to receive and evaluate information as well as to communicate decisions effectively is impaired to an extent that renders him/her unable to manage financial resources or meet essential requirements of health and safety. 20 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 5501.

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