When adult guardianships make the news, it is almost always because of an issue with one. Stories about family members using guardianships to control individuals or their assets aren’t that common, but they certainly make for sensational news, especially when the person subject to the guardianship is a celebrity.
You may have thought about guardianship for your aging loved one and then decided against it because of the negative mental association that you have for guardianships. It may surprise you to learn that Michigan law does its best to empower adults subject to the oversight and support of guardianship.
How does Michigan prioritize the needs of the person in the guardianship?
State law requires the guardian to consult with their charge when making major decisions. Guardians assume roles of financial, medical and legal authority over someone in a vulnerable position. If someone can no longer manage their own money, schedule their own appointments or meet their own basic physical needs, a guardianship can help protect them.
The guardian does not have unilateral control over every aspect of someone’s life. Instead, the law requires that the guardian focus on the needs of the person in their care. Not only do they have a duty to take care of that individual and their resources, but they also need to consult with the incapacitated adult about major decisions. While someone may no longer be able to manage their own finances, they may still have a strong preference about where they live or other aspects of their daily life.
Understanding how guardianship works in Michigan can help you better care for a loved one who can no longer take care of themselves alone.