Who determines if a court-appointed guardian is needed?

Many Georgia residents are elderly and dependent upon adult sons, daughters or other loved ones to help them with their financial, medical and daily living needs. It is not uncommon for people beyond age 80 to move into assisted-living facilities. A court-appointed guardian may be necessary if an elderly man or woman becomes incapacitated and unable to make decisions on his or her own behalf.

Sadly, many problem situations have arisen in this state and others when people seeking financial gain have exploited the elderly, somehow managing to convince the court that a guardian was needed when, in reality, that may not be the case. One situation in another state involved an older woman whose niece had taken her to a doctor's office. The events that unfolded after arriving in the waiting room caused not only the niece, but other family members, to become gravely concerned.

It seems that the woman's niece was asked to sign additional papers before the woman's scheduled appointment. When she returned to the waiting room, her aunt was gone. She immediately inquired and was told by office staff that a court-appointed guardian had come to get the older woman and did not leave information as to where she was being taken. The niece and her family members suspect that the elderly woman's grand-daughter had convinced the court that her grandmother suffers from dementia, which they all say is completely untrue.

The woman's loved ones later learned that she was taken to an assisted-living facility for dementia patients. They also believe her grand-daughter has been wiping out her assets. Any Georgia resident facing problems regarding a court-appointed guardian will not only want to arm himself or herself with as much legal information as possible but perhaps also seek guidance and support from an experienced elder law attorney.

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