The Commonwealth of Kentucky has created a legal system of guardianship and conservatorship that provides a range of options for adults who are determined to be disabled. Any of the following situations can be grounds for disability determination for an adult who:
Kentucky Revised Statutes, Chapter 387 proscribes the legal process which protection requires, including a hearing before a 6-person jury during which evidence is presented to demonstrate that the adult is legally disabled. An evaluation is done by an Interdisciplinary Team consisting of a physician who will do the medical evaluation, a psychologist who will assess mental capacity and a social worker who will review the Respondent's social environment and ability to function. When the jury determines that an adult is disabled and to what extent (full or partial) this person is disabled, the judge will immediately make an appointment of a guardian or conservator.
From time to time there are adults for whom there is no appropriate family member or friend willing or capable to serve as a guardian or conservator. In this circumstance the court may appoint the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services through its Division for Aging and Independent Living (DAIL) to act as the guardian or conservator. The individual becomes a “ward” of the state and the Cabinet works to provide the needed care and protection for the ward. Based upon the level of disability that the jury finds, there are several options available to provide protection for the ward:
The public guardian is required to inventory the ward's property, maintain financial records of how the ward's money is being spent and file an annual report to the court.
The Kentucky Guardianship Association (KGA) is a nonprofit organization committed to improving adult guardianship in Kentucky. When you visit our website at www.kyguardianship.org, watch our video with its easy-to-understand overview of Kentucky guardianship law. We encourage you to download our recently released handbook, the Kentucky Guardianship Manual, that details the guardianship process in Kentucky from start to finish. KGA meetings and trainings assist our membership with understanding Kentucky guardianship law and provide continuing education for the various disciplines that have a role in guardianship. Protecting the quality of life of your loved one involves many factors and KGA is a great resource for information on guardianship and understanding when becoming a ward of the state may in some instances be the best solution.