We are often contacted about Emergency Guardianship when a loved one has been hospitalized. Generally, if a person has been hospitalized after an unsafe behavior, courts take the view that the immediate crisis has passed because the person is safe and receiving medical treatment. If the hospitalized person will be discharged without a safe place to go, the court may consider appointing a Temporary Guardian. Courts will only appoint a Temporary Guardian in the most dire of situations. The Respondent must be an active threat of harm to themselves in order for a court to consider appointing a Temporary Guardian.
The term Emergency Guardianship is commonly used to describe a request to a court that a Guardian be appointed on an expedited basis. The term the court uses for such a proceeding is “temporary guardianship” because the Guardian’s authority expires after 30 days. In emergencies, it is common to simultaneously petition for both temporary and permanent authority so that a Guardian will have immediate authority to react to an unsafe situation, and ongoing authority to look after the Respondent.
As with a Permanent Guardianship, the petition must show that the Respondent is incapacitated. Someone is incapacitated when their ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions is impaired to such an extent that they lack the capacity to meet the essential requirements for their health and safety. The Petition must also allege that there is an immediate and serious danger to the life or health of the respondent and that their welfare requires immediate action. A Respondent has 15 days to object to a Permanent Guardianship, but only 48 hours to object to a petition for a Temporary Guardianship. This typically means that the Guardian can be appointed no sooner than two (2) full business days after the filing of the petition.
Someone is incapacitated when their ability to receive and evaluate information effectively or to communicate decisions is impaired to such an extent that they lack the capacity to meet the essential requirements for their health and safety.
If you are in need of assistance with a Guardianship matter regarding a family member or friend – We can help! An experienced Guardianship attorney with the Law Offices of Nay & Friedenberg LLC can help you understand your options.