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Guardianship Lawyers in Pittsburgh, PA

A Fingeret Law attorney can help you get a legal guardian appointed for your incapacitated loved one

Most of us are fortunate to have the mental capacity and physical ability to make decisions on our own during our adult life. However, some people are born with disabilities that render them unable to make decisions for themselves. In addition, an illness, injury or advanced age can deprive a person of the ability to make necessary decisions. The skilled attorneys of Fingeret Law can help protect your loved one by working with you to set up an appropriate guardianship.

Types of guardianships

When a person is unable to make decisions for himself or herself, Pennsylvania law allows a court to appoint a guardian to make the decisions. The person for whom the guardian makes decisions is called a ward. The court determines which type of guardianship the ward needs, including:

  • Plenary guardianship the guardian has full authority to make whatever decisions are necessary for the ward
  • Limited guardianship the guardian’s ability to make decisions is limited as specified in the court order of guardianship
  • Emergency guardianship the guardian’s appointment is for a limited period of time, usually to deal with an emergency
  • Successor guardianship a guardian is named to replace the primary guardian if the primary guardian is no longer willing or able to serve
  • Co-guardianship two or more guardians are named to make decisions for the ward

What our lawyers do to get a guardian appointed

The first step in getting a guardian appointed for your loved one is to file a guardianship petition with the court. The petition must state the reasons why the proposed ward is unable to make sound decisions. It is essential to focus on why the ward is unable to make decisions, as it is not sufficient simply to say that the ward makes bad decisions. Based on the information you provide, a Fingeret Law guardianship attorney prepares a compelling petition.

The ward is notified of the petition and has the right to challenge the petition.

At a hearing, the court determines whether the ward needs a guardian. If so, the court next considers the qualifications of the proposed guardian, including:

  • Adult age
  • Competency
  • U.S. citizenship
  • No criminal record

Who can be appointed as a guardian?

Courts generally favor relatives and friends of the ward. It is assumed that family and friends are likely to know what the ward would decide if he or she had the capacity to do so. A court generally favors a person named by the ward in a durable power of attorney, if one exists. In the absence of family and friends, a court can award guardianship to an entity, such as a corporation, a professional guardian or even a Pennsylvania public guardian.

Our guardianship lawyers can help

To discuss your specific needs and to find out how our guardianship attorneys can help you, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412-254-8533 or contact us online. We have served the Greater Pittsburgh community for more than 40 years in the practice areas of elder law, estate planning, asset protection, insurance law, veterans benefits, medical assistance planning, estates, trusts, power of attorney and guardianships. We travel to clients.