The court will appoint a Guardian for a person who is losing capacity. This can be for either a mental or physical disability. It is particularly important in the case of seniors with dementia if there is no existing Power of Attorney. Even a spouse may find the need to apply for guardianship if there is no Power or its terms are too limited.

Other examples of guardianship appointments are for a disabled minor or for mentally challenged individuals when they turn 18 and there is no longer parental authority.

The courts also will appoint a Guardian for children when there is no surviving parent and a Will was never drafted to name a Guardian in those circumstances.

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Robert W. Shaw is licensed in New York.