Here’s how Pa. can reform its guardianship system to protect our most vulnerable citizens

Pennsylvania needs a right to counsel for people facing guardianship proceedings, as well as reforms to protect the health and safety of individuals deemed incapacitated.

Op-Ed (Pennsylvania)

Pam Walz, Karen Buck, Samuel Brooks
Pennsylvania Capital-Star
May 16, 2019

Tags: Guardianship

Organizations mentioned/involved: SeniorLaw Center (PA), Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia


Guardianship can be an important legal tool for very vulnerable, severely cognitively impaired individuals who need someone – usually a trusted family member – to step in to make financial, medical and other decisions, if they are unable to do so.

But guardianship should only be used when other less restrictive ways of supporting a person are not available.

In Nevada, every individual facing or in guardianship is now appointed a nonprofit legal aid attorney to protect her rights and ensure her voice is heard, throughout the duration of the guardianship.

These attorneys do not bill the individual or their estate and have no economic conflict. Their only interest is the wellbeing of their client. Surely vulnerable Pennsylvanians deserve the same.