Although an adult may need a guardian or co-decision-maker, this should generally be considered as a last resort. The Public Guardian and Trustee has information about how to decide when this kind of help is needed. Readers may wish to look at this information before considering an application to become a guardian or co-decision-maker.
The court will consider what is needed and whether other documents are already in place, such as an enduring power of attorney or health care directive. If the court determines that an adult needs help making decisions they can appoint a co-decision-maker. If the court determines that an adult is not capable of making decisions they can appoint a guardian.
There are two general types of guardianship or co-decision-making powers. A personal guardian or co-decision-maker makes decisions related to the day-to-day life of the adult. These decisions may involve some medical care (where no health care directive is in place), living arrangements, clothing and even who can see the adult. A property guardian or co-decision-maker is concerned with the financial affairs and property of the adult.
In some cases, a guardian or co-decision-maker will have to be appointed for both property and personal decisions. In other cases, only one needs to be appointed. If both are needed, then the same person could make each set of decisions. Alternatively, different decision-makers could be involved for each type of decision.