Below are some frequently asked questions regarding guardianship.
HOW DOES A PERSON GET A GUARDIAN?
In Missouri, a guardian is court-appointed. This means, that each person who is no longer able to care for themselves or make decisions in their best interest, a hearing in probate court occurs, and the judge or a jury determines whether or not a guardianship should be appointed based information presented at the hearing.
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS IF I HAVE A GUARDIAN?
Your rights depend on the type of guardianship that is court-ordered. If it is a limited guardianship, the court decides which rights you still have, which may include voting. If it is a full guardianship, the person who the court appoints will make all decisions for you, although they are to consider your best interests, needs, wants, and preferences.
WHAT CAN I DO IF MY GUARDIAN WANTS TO MOVE ME INTO A NURSING HOME, AND I DON'T WANT TO GO?
The court determines the least restrictive setting based upon your medical condition and decision-making ability. The least restrictive is in your home with supports and services, then, it becomes more restrictive, which may include an assisted living facility, group home, residential care facility, or a nursing home. Your living situation cannot change without the court’s approval.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A POWER OF ATTORNEY AND A GUARDIAN?
There are several differences between a power of attorney and guardianship, but the major difference is that a power of attorney can be changed or eliminated by the person, and any change to a guardianship must be made by the court.
The court must make the decision based upon information presented at a hearing. If there have been significant changes in the condition of the person under guardianship, it is taken into consideration by the court.
WHERE CAN I FIND AN ATTORNEY TO TALK ABOUT OPTIONS?
You may talk to an attorney about guardianship issues by contacting: The Missouri Bar Association (for a referral): (573) 635-4128 or http://www.mobar.org Missouri Protection & Advocacy: (573) 893-3333