If a loved one is no longer able to make or communicate her own health care decisions and she has not named a health care proxy, you must ask that the Probate Court appoint someone to make those decisions for her. This person, called a guardian, will be appointed by the court to make personal and medical decisions for your incapacitated family member. In order to have a guardian appointed, you must file a petition with the court, along with a Bond. In addition, you must specify, by way of a medical certificate signed by a doctor, the specific issues the person is dealing with that have left her unable to make her own decisions. The certificate outlines what she is able to do and what she is no longer able to do, and also includes a list of her medications. A family member may ask to be appointed, or a nursing home or other health care provider may ask that someone, often an attorney, be named to make these decisions for an incapacitated person.
Usually, if a person has named a valid health care proxy, a guardianship proceeding is not necessary. In the case of a disabled child reaching the age of majority who has never had the capacity to make some or all of her decisions, Attorney Harvey coordinates with the parents and the child’s doctors and school personnel to determine what guardianship authority is appropriate for each child.