A Massachusetts Court determines whether an individual is able to manage his or her own matters in a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding. By law, all minors - under age 18 - are presumed to be in need of a legal guardian, typically a parent. For individuals over 18, a Court is reluctant to take away legal rights without strict notice requirements and medical evidence showing the need for such appointment.
Filing a Petition for Guardianship and/or Conservatorship is time-consuming and costly. Fortunately, this course of action can be avoided if the individual has previously signed a Durable Power of Attorney. This document ensures that the person serving as “attorney-in-fact” is the individual’s selection rather than a Court’s appointment. Having this legal document in place usually avoids the need for a Court proceeding and prevents having a Court appoint someone the individual would have never selected. With a Durable Power of Attorney, the individual chooses the person.