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As a guardian of your loved one, what are your duties?

Several estate planning tools can help individuals plan for the unpredictable and the unexpected. Not many people want to think about when their loved ones near the end of their lives or when they become incapacitated.

However, it is critical to address these possibilities. In many cases, New York families can consider establishing legal guardianships of loved ones who can no longer take care of themselves. But what responsibilities would you have as your loved one's guardian?

1. Arranging for the proper care and services

Guardians have the responsibility of finding proper living conditions for their loved one. In some cases, guardians might choose to act as their loved one's caregiver as well. However, being a guardian is a significant commitment—and being a caregiver even more so. So, guardians might also consider finding an assisted living facility for their loved one.

Regardless, guardians must determine what living conditions meet their loved one's needs the best.

2. Finding good medical services for them

In addition to living conditions, guardians often must find their loved one the proper medical care. For example, if your loved one is in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's, it might be helpful to:

  • Understand what to expect and what medical decisions you might have to make
  • Determine what specific care they need at the moment
  • Find a doctor and care team you can trust

It might also be necessary to help your loved one with daily medical care, such as ensuring they take any medications or attend their scheduled treatment.

3. Assisting them with everyday matters

Caregivers and guardians may have to help their loved ones with everyday activities as well. If your loved one is in an assisted living facility, these everyday decisions might mostly include financial decisions, such as how to use their spending money.

If you live with your loved one, it might also be necessary to:

  • Shop for their groceries
  • Make their meals 
  • Purchase clothes and other necessities
  • Help them with hygiene and personal care

4. Placing their best interests first

In all of their responsibilities and decisions, guardians have a duty of care to their loved one. They must always prioritize their loved one's best interests in every decision they make on their behalf. 

As a guardian, this is indeed one of the duties you must take the most seriously, as it could impact nearly every aspect of your loved one's life.

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  • Walter J. Roesch IV
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