Pamela D. Wilson of The Care Navigator has served as court appointed guardian in the state of Colorado since 2007. She is a certified guardian and member of the National Guardianship Association. The National Guardianship Association supports nationally recognized Standards of Practice for guardians to ensure that those served by the guardianship process are provided with respect, dignity and high standards of care. Continuing education is a requirement of membership in the National Guardianship Association.
In the State of Colorado, guardians must submit on an annual basis to the court a copy of a photo ID, criminal background check and a credit report. Guardians must also certify that they have not been a participant in any criminal activity.
Guardianship Colorado is a legal process utilized when an individual can no longer make good decisions about his or her personal and medical care or property or has become susceptible to financial abuse or undue influence. Individuals benefiting from guardianship usually have medical impairments or mental disabilities that limit their ability to evaluate information and to make appropriate decisions.
A guardian in Colorado makes decisions regarding medical care and the living environment of a person under guardianship. Separately, a conservator in Colorado is appointed to manage the financial aspects of an individual’s care. Professionals may only serve as guardian or conservator. Family members may be appointed to serve as both guardian and conservator.
In Colorado, the guardianship process includes a petition submitted to the court that includes facts to substantiate the need for a guardian as well as medical information and recommendations by a physician or neuropsychologist regarding a need for guardianship. A court hearing occurs where the person considered for guardianship may present their information or be represented by an attorney to present information that agrees or disagrees with the proposed appointment. A judge evaluates the information and makes a decision. If granted, letters of guardianship and an order of guardianship are issued by the court.
Many individuals for whom guardians are appointed have difficulty understanding the need for appointment of a person to help them make decisions. In many situations, individuals for whom a guardian is appointed have a diagnosis of dementia, Alzheimer ’s disease, a developmental disability or a brain injury. Alternatives to guardianship are powers of attorney, case management Denver or advocates.
Professionals are often appointed as guardian in Colorado in place of family members for a number of reasons. Disagreement may exist between family members regarding an appropriate plan of care for a loved one. Family members—wishing to have a positive relationship with a loved one— may not wish to be guardian because of difficult decisions that must be made, for example, moving a parent to a care community when the parent strongly disagrees with this decision. In other situations, a parent may have experienced emotional or financial abuse as the result of the care provided by an adult child. In some cases adult children may not live in Colorado and may feel unable to provide a high level of oversight and support. In other cases, no family may exist. The reasons for appointing a professional guardian in Colorado are many.
Professional guardianship in Colorado offers the ability to have an independent and uninvolved individual evaluate a situation and to recommend and initiate a plan of care. In many cases the appointment of a professional guardian provides a sense of relief to family members when family situations have been disagreeable or contentious.
The guardian in Colorado is accountable for acting in the best interest of the person under guardianship. Guardians are appointed by the court system and have reporting requirements in the state of Colorado that include a care plan to address: medical, physical, social, educational and vocational aspects. Not all may apply to each situation. Rules for guardians and conservators vary by state.
For a FREE 15 minute consultation to learn more about The Care Navigator’s guardianship services in Colorado, click here.