A guardian is someone appointed by a court to make decisions for an incapacitated person.  If an individual has done good legal planning such as executing a durable power of attorney and health care directive, a guardianship can often be avoided.  However, sometimes, a guardianship must be established to help the person who can no longer manage his or her affairs or make appropriate decisions regarding health care, for example. 

The court will hold a hearing to determine whether the individual for whom you are seeking guardianship is incapacitated.  Incapacity may stem from infirmity, insanity, mental illness, alcoholism, excessive use of drugs, or other condition. Although these conditions may contribute to incapacity, a person who has one or more of these problems is not necessarily incapable. Old age is never a basis upon which guardianship can be granted. A guardian should not be appointed for a person unless the individual cannot manage property or provide self-care or give direction to another to assist in these areas.  Courts will sometimes limit a guardianship to allow the incapacitated person to exercise control over some portions of his or her life.