How does a wife reverse a court ordered guardianship?

Q: My mom asked the court if she could be a guardian over her husband because he was taking money out of the bank and misplacing it. He was making bad buying decisions etc. He was also very sick at the time and needed to seek medical attention, but we were unable to get him to go to the hospital. He is now staying in the basement of my mom’s house and we all take care of him. She was granted guardian over my dad but then she does not like the fact that she has to ask the court every time she has to make decisions for my dad, such as paying for certain things for him, writing end of the year reports, etc. They have been married for almost 60 years and she feels like she should not have to asked permission for every little thing. How can she get the court ordered guardianship reversed? (Pittsburgh, PA)

A: If a person does not want or cannot serve as a Guardian, a substitute or successor Guardian can be appointed. I assume a lawyer assisted your mother in being appointed Guardian, so my advice would be to contact that lawyer and ask if he can file a Petition for Successor Guardian.

Can a hospice agency decide on a back-up or secondary guardian?

Q: I am a hospice Social Worker with a patient who appointed a friend as his guardian. This friend has numerous health problems herself and is often in the hospital. Our medical director wants us to establish a secondary or back up guardian. Can our agency set this up on behalf of the patient?

A: If this patient is competent, perhaps he or she can sign a Power of Attorney, appointing someone else to act. If that is not possible, a court appointed guardian is necessary. Only the court can appoint a guardian. The process requires a written petition to be filed and a hearing to be held. Your agency will need an attorney to do this. Many agencies work with attorneys who handle this. If your agency has no attorney, you can seek one independently or call Orphan’s Court for information on how to obtain one.