Guardianship, should you be appointed and what are the roles of the guardian over body and property?

by | Nov 10, 2023 | Caregiving, Laws & Regulations, Uncategorized, Wellness & Health

Let’s start with an example from the field: on the subject of a guardian and his duties –

A client, who is not sure if it is worth starting a guardianship process for a mother suffering from moderate dementia, came to consult a social worker. The client told her that her mother is still able to recognize people but sometimes forgets what day it is. Also, her mother began to suffer from delusions as well. The client was sure that her mother was still sane and able to make decisions for herself. Despite the fact that it was explained to her that the disease is progressing quickly and may later impair her mother’s judgment. The daughter nevertheless refused to start the guardianship process.

One day, the mother fell and needed surgery on her broken leg, at the same time, the daughter discovered that her mother was in a much worse cognitive state than she thought. The doctors were not ready to perform an operation without the consent of the mother, since the doctors noticed that the elderly woman was not capable of this, it was decided to perform a mental test for her. The mother got a low score on the test. As a result, the hospital’s attorney-in-fact made temporary guardianship of the mother’s body only.

The process took several days until a guardianship order was received by the attorney general and during this time until the surgery, the mother suffered severe pain in her leg. The mother had to take painkillers to deal with the pain. Such a case could have been avoided if the daughter had started the guardianship process before the fall.

Why even start a guardianship process?

As people age, many of them suffer from dementia. As the dementia process worsens, the person suffering from the disease needs more help during the day. Elderly people with dementia are at physical and financial risk as a result of their vulnerability to physical, emotional, financial abuse and decisions without judgment.

These patients need more protection. For example, an elderly person who refuses to let a foreign caregiver enter his home, or refuses to enter a nursing home, may endanger himself and his surroundings, if the same elderly person has had a stroke, can no longer communicate and needs help 24 hours a day, he can no longer satisfy his opinion on the matter The help he gets. These are the reasons why he needs guardianship.

What exactly is guardianship?

A guardian is a person chosen to make personal decisions for another person. The other person is unable to make important decisions for himself such as: where will he live and what treatment will he receive? An elderly person can have more than one person as a guardian for him. It may be that he will receive a guardian for his body and property separately. There may also be a situation where there will be more than one guardian who is responsible for body and property together and each one separately. It means that if one is not available to come and sign consent for the surgery, the other will come in his place and vice versa.

Are you suitable to be a guardian?

If you take on the role of guardian, you must once every six months, update the general guardian on behalf of the court about the material condition of the elderly. You need to make sure with yourself if you really understand the role you want to take on before you become a legal guardian for the elderly.

If becoming a guardian for an elderly person is too heavy a responsibility for you, there are other alternatives that you can think of such as:

  1. power of attorney in the bank.
  2. Preliminary instructions.
  3. decision supporter.
  4. Lasting medical power of attorney.

*Details of which will be written later, it should be noted that the above options can be done as long as the elderly person still has sound judgment, that is, there can be a cognitive decline, but the judgment is still considered sound. In order to check the mental state, you must consult a geriatrician or psychogeriatrician.

In the case of an emergency, for example, of an urgent operation, if the elderly is unable to make a decision, his judgment is not correct, there is a possibility to make a temporary guardian for him for the required medical operation. The validity of the aforementioned temporary guardianship expires, when the aforementioned medical procedure ends.

The decision whether to perform guardianship over the elderly dear to you?

The family court needs proof that the elderly is indeed not legally competent to make decisions. It is necessary to prove that that elderly person is unable to make basic decisions for himself such as: where to live, unable to provide himself with food, clothing, take care of himself physically or make financial decisions for himself.

In what cases will it not be possible to be appointed as a guardian for the elderly?

  1. Lack of experience in financial matters mainly.
  2. Conflicts and interests.
  3. low education.
  4. minor.
  5. Lack of legal capacity of the person who wants to be a guardian.
  6. Advanced age (over 75).

The guardian has a number of obligations including:

Body guardianship versus property guardianship – are you interested in performing a body or property guardianship or perhaps even both?

When you ask to be appointed as a guardian for body and property, you are actually asking to be responsible in all respects for the elderly. Being a guardian of property means that you have to take care of that person’s property and assets in a way that best serves their interests.

“The court decides who to appoint as a guardian, while maximally protecting the interests of the person to whom a guardian is appointed, when several guardians can be appointed for the same person.” Taken from Reut – a caring family.

  1. Evaluate confidential records and present them when necessary.
  2. agree or disagree with certain medical treatments.
  3. Agree or disagree with travel plans that the confidential, is interested in taking.
  4. Choose a suitable place of residence for the confidential.
  5. To provide personal needs and clothing needs.
  6. Ensure that a doctor sees the insured once a year and provides a letter describing the insured’s health status.
  7. to make sure that the confidential receives a response to his personal needs.
  8. To take care of the rights of the confidential.

9. Forms that must be filled out for the purpose of follow-up by the general guardian-

Within 60 days from the date of appointment, a report must be submitted to the general guardian detailing the person’s assets and liabilities, known as a “statement”. The statement will detail all of the person’s assets, rights, and obligations. The information included in the statement must be updated and correct as of the day of appointment. The statement will be prepared on the attached form and must be Be verified by an affidavit. The affidavit can be verified before any lawyer. In any court this service is provided with a symbolic title.

A “living basket” form is also attached to these instructions. This form is intended for determining the person’s monthly spending budget and must be submitted for the supervisor’s approval. Determining a living basket will help you in budget planning and may make dealing with the bank easier. In the “living basket” form, you must fill in current monthly income and expenses that characterize one normal month, and submit it, as much as possible, within 90 days of the appointment.

For information on the execution of the guardianship process, see an article explaining the guardianship process in Israel.

Written by: Irit Rabinowitz, attorney M.A in social work, in the field of health and rehabilitation.