Protected Persons’ Rights and Freedoms Under Guardianship

Guardianship Rights

Guardianship is a legal arrangement that grants an individual or entity the authority to make decisions on behalf of someone who is incapacitated or unable to make decisions independently. While guardianship provides essential protection and support for individuals in need, it’s essential to understand that protected persons still retain certain rights and freedoms under guardianship. Attorney Eric Schutzbank handles guardianship and conservatorship matters in Massachusetts, and he is dedicated to upholding the rights and dignity of protected persons. In this article, we explore the rights and freedoms afforded to protected persons under guardianship and provide insights into how these rights are safeguarded.

Understanding the Rights of Protected Persons

Protected persons under guardianship maintain a fundamental set of rights and freedoms, even though they may have limitations due to their incapacity. These rights include:

  1. Right to Dignity and Respect: Protected persons have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of their disabilities or limitations. This includes the right to make choices about their daily lives to the extent possible and to have their preferences and wishes respected by their guardian.
  2. Right to Personal Autonomy: While guardians are appointed to make decisions on behalf of protected persons, individuals retain the right to participate in decision-making to the extent possible. Guardians should involve protected persons in decisions that affect their lives and respect their autonomy and independence. Incapacitated individuals can maintain several rights ranging from the right to determine their friends to the right to vote.
  3. Right to Legal Representation: Protected persons have the right to legal representation and advocacy to ensure that their interests are protected throughout the guardianship process. This may include the right to have an attorney represent them in guardianship proceedings or to challenge decisions made by their guardian if they believe their rights have been violated.

Ensuring Dignity and Autonomy

Consider a scenario where an elderly individual with dementia is placed under guardianship due to their inability to make decisions independently. While the guardian has the authority to make decisions about the individual’s healthcare and living arrangements, they must respect the individual’s dignity and autonomy. The guardian consults with the individual’s healthcare providers and family members to ensure that decisions are made in the individual’s best interests and that their preferences and wishes are considered whenever possible.

Safeguarding Protected Persons’ Rights

In Massachusetts, guardians have a duty to act in the best interests of the protected person and to ensure that their rights and freedoms are upheld. This includes:

  1. Regular Monitoring and Oversight: Guardianship cases are subject to ongoing court oversight to ensure that the guardian is acting in the best interests of the protected person. The court may appoint a guardian ad litem or visitor to monitor the guardian’s actions and report back to the court on the well-being of the protected person.
  2. Annual Reporting Requirements: Guardians are required to submit annual reports to the court detailing the actions they have taken on behalf of the protected person, including decisions made and expenses incurred. This helps to ensure transparency and accountability in the guardianship process.

Experienced Guardianship Attorneys

Attorney Schutzbank understands the importance of protecting the rights and freedoms of protected persons under guardianship. If you have questions or concerns about guardianship or conservatorship matters in Massachusetts, don’t hesitate to contact Attorney Schutzbank. He is here to provide compassionate guidance and expert legal representation to ensure that the rights and dignity of protected persons are upheld.

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