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Reunited Michigan family faces guardianship challenges

Adult family members often have a number of people who rely on them for financial, emotional and physical care. This includes minor children, the elderly and mentally ill relatives. In some of these cases, it is important for caregivers to consider conservatorship or guardianship issues with the future in mind. These matters can often be taken care of with the legal counsel of an estate and probate attorney.

Canton readers who are caregivers for any other individual may be interested to hear about a 46-year-old, mentally ill man who was recently reunited with his family in Detroit. According to family members, the man rarely speaks and went missing in 2008 after his mother died. Police report that they found the man and brought him to a hospital. The man could not provide his name or address.

The man was placed in the home of an adult foster worker. The caregiver reports that the man requires constant assistance and care. A guardian, who was assigned by the hospital in 2008, reports being reluctant to return the man to his family's care. According to the guardian, attempts were made over the years to locate the family, including publication of the man's picture in a local newspaper.

According to the man's sister, the family has been searching for him since 2008. A probate judge will decide the matter in February in Wayne County, where these events took place.

Although this is an extreme case, many factors are involved in appointing a legal guardian for incapacitated individuals. Families who are concerned with the future of mentally ill children or adults in their care should carefully consider their own legal responsibilities and what actions they may take to protect those in need.

Source: UPI.com, "'John Doe' reunited with Detroit family," Jan. 9, 2013

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