As individuals age, their overall health and cognitive function can decline to a point where they struggle to live independently. They may become dependent on professional caregivers or members of their family for day-to-day tasks.
A guardianship involves someone asking the courts to grant them legal authority over and responsibility for that adult’s daily life. A New York guardianship involves caring for someone on a day-to-day basis and ensuring that their safety and health needs are met. It can also require that someone take control over their charge’s assets to manage them on their behalf.
People are often resistant to the idea that they require such support. The testimony of professionals may be necessary to help someone protect a loved one from negative impacts of advanced age. Ultimately, the three professionals below could play a role in guardianship hearings initiated by those concerned about an older adult.
Accountants and other financial professionals
Proving that someone has begun to struggle with managing their own affairs might require an in-depth review of their current financial circumstances. An accountant or other financial professional may recognize that someone has begun to mismanage their resources or squander them. Records of missed payments or highly questionable investment choices could raise questions about a testator’s decision-making and ability to live independently.
Medical and psychological professionals
Healthcare professionals typically have to abide by confidentiality requirements. However, there are certain situations that necessitate intervention for the protection of vulnerable individuals. Healthcare professionals who have treated older adults or diagnosed them with disabling conditions like Alzheimer’s disease may agree to testify to ensure they receive the support they require given their condition.
Even before older adults start to experience cognitive decline, they may bring certain professionals into their lives to make aging in place more feasible. Other times, they may move to specialized facilities where they can have care that limits their need to engage in demanding chores like cleaning and cooking. Those working at assisted living facilities or frequently entering someone’s home to care for them may be able to testify about changes in cognitive ability or other warning signs of decline that can help the courts see that a guardianship is necessary.
Witnesses are just one form of evidence that can help someone intervene to protect a vulnerable aging adult. Having the right evidence can make a big difference for family members and even professionals who believe that pursuing a guardianship will be in the best interest of an older adult.