When a person is incapable of managing his or her affairs, a court can appoint a guardian to make decisions about property, medical care, living arrangements and finances. Kentucky previously was the only state to require a jury trial for guardianship. Jury trials are expensive, but could help prevent financial exploitation or other forms of elder abuse.
The new law, which takes effect July 14, waives the need for a jury trial. Instead, it requires evidence from three medical professionals to confirm the need for guardianship. The right to a trial remains intact for anyone who requests one.
Many family caregivers play a critical role in managing assets for their loved ones. With this change, a family member who wants to serve as guardian can save time and court costs by not having to appear at a jury trial.