News & Insights

Requiring a Ward in a Guardianship to Submit a Medical Evaluation
September 8, 2014
by Marcellus Lebbin


South Bend / Mishawaka, IN – If an individual is unable to manage their affairs a loved one may petition the court to appoint a guardian over the individual to manage their financial and personal matters. While the court is determining whether grounds exist for a guardianship, the judge has the power to order the individual with questionable capacity to submit to a medical evaluation by a doctor of the courts choosing.

As individuals age they may develop dementia and not realize the consequences of their actions. These individuals may also not realize their condition or chose to live in denial, refusing to visit doctors that seek to inform them of their condition to aid in their care. Moreover, while you know your loved one and are aware that their decisions are irrational and the product of an aging mind, not all doctors will agree and conflicting medical reports between doctors may surface and be presented at court

For example, one individual was told by several doctors that he was developing dementia and had CT scans that showed brain loss. When a petition to appoint an emergency guardian was filed in court the man submitted letters from other doctors saying he was of sound mind. Moreover, individuals with diminishing capacity may refute their doctor’s opinions and argue their opinion cannot be trusted. When a situation such as this arises, Indiana courts have the power to order the individuals whose capacity is in question to submit to a medical evaluation.

While an individual may still maintain that their mental state is fine, they must comply with the court order to submit to the mental evaluation or could face a charge of contempt of court. Even if an individual appeals the order to submit to a medical evaluation they must still comply with the original order until it is overturned by an appellate court.

Since courts have the power to order a medical evaluation with respect to a guardianship petition families are able to properly care for an individual who is in denial regarding their mental state.

This allows for guardianships to be properly granted and protection for the potential ward.