Evaluating Potential Guardians for Adults Adjudicated Incompetent

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Despite the considerable interest from psychology and law in how to assess and conceptualized competency issues, relatively little has been written about guardianship, particularly how to best evaluate guardianship candidates. This is problematic because a guardian is assigned once an individual is adjudicated incompetent and decision-making about this is difficult in some cases. As psychologists have much to offer the court in making recommendations about a suitable guardian, the purpose of this article is to provide specific recommendation in domains to assess in an interview with a potential guardian. Domains that should be assessed include the following: relationship with proposed ward, knowledge and insight about proposed ward, guardianship plans, decision-making style, and suitability for guardianship. Recommendations are also provided for especially difficult cases such as when working with families in conflict, the presence of undue influence, and when a family member or friend is pitted against a disinterested public agency.

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