Can a person with cancer maintain guardianship over a physically disabled adult?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can a person with cancer maintain guardianship over a physically disabled adult?

My boyfriend’s adopted mother is his legal guardian, however she was diagnosed with cancer. Should she maintain her guardianship over him and look after his best interests when she has to fight against


Asked on August 25, 2017 under Estate Planning, Missouri


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Whether she can and whether she should are two different issues:
1) As long as she is mentally competent (which includes not being rendered incompetent by pain medication) and can communicate, she legally can be his guardian.
2) However, with the stress and challenges, physical and mental, of fighting cancer, as well as the real chance that she will not make it, someone else probably *should* be appointed. 
Unfortunately, while she can ask the court to appoint someone instead of her, she can't be forced to do that.
Your boyfriend's only real option would be to try to file a legal action removing guardianship entirely: i.e. that he is competent to manage his own affairs and that the guardianship should be dissolved. That will not be an easy thing to do, even it is the case that he no longer needs a guardian--it is a procedurally complex legal action, and he'll need medical evidence of his competence--and if he wants to try this, he really should get legal assistance. He should speak to the Legal Services Corporation for Missouri: they may or may not be able to themselves help him, but can probably help direct him to an attorney, an agency, or a disabled advocacy group which can provide assistance. 

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