When a person is no longer able to make good, sound decisions in their own best interest, it can be necessary to take decision-making power away from that person for their own protection. When a court intervenes, the most intrusive way to help will be taken. In cases like this, a court will appoint a guardian, which is someone assigned to make decisions on behalf of the protected person, called the ward.
Guardianship can be appointed for many different reasons. Sometimes, a parent allows another family member to have guardianship of the child if they're unable to take care of a child. If the child's parents both die, it will be necessary for the court to appoint a guardian. Elderly people with dementia, no longer able to make wise choices, are also appointed guardians. Also, people with physical, emotional, mental, or developmental disabilities can have a guardian established when the court determines the individual cannot make sound decisions and is necessary to protect the subject's welfare. It is best to apply for a guardianship before a person's situation worsens. This also allows for a discussion if a guardianship is necessary or a power of attorney will suffice.