A court has the right to appoint an individual as a legal guardian over an elderly person, who has been deemed to be incapacitated, whether partly or fully. This event refers to elderly guardianship and involves an individual appointed as legal guardian to be fully liable for the health and life of an elderly person. This is usually done in order to ensure that an elderly person who has been incapacitated in some manner receives the medical, emotional, physical, or financial treatment or care that he or she needs.
A court determines the need for elderly guardianship based on its ruling on an elderly individual as incompetent. The general rule for determining incompetency is whether or not the individual can still make informed decisions regarding his or her affairs and he or she can meet his or her needs, physically and financially. If the elderly individual proves to do otherwise, then he or she is determined to be in need of elderly guardianship.
In appointing a legal guardian to maintain an elderly guardianship, the court usually appoints an immediate member of the family. But if such is not possible, a close relative or friend is appointed legal guardian. It is necessary for the legal guardian to be of an age, most commonly above 18 years of age, and without criminal record. If the person whom the court has appointed legal guardian refuses to take the elderly guardianship, the court will appoint a private or public agency, even an attorney, as legal guardian.