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Guardianship – What Is It and Why Does It Matter?

In the United States, our society has established a legal means to protect individuals who cannot care for themselves and their well-being because of age, incapacity, or disability. This process is called guardianship; a court will appoint an affiliated guardian to provide and oversee the care of the at-risk individual, also known as a ward. Guardians have full legal authority to make important decisions about their ward’s personal, healthcare and financial interests.


Certain types of guardianship exist to reflect the patterns of support often needed in at-risk individuals, such as guardianship of elderly or incapacitated individuals. This is the primary work of Federated Guardians as it is the greatest need in our community within this sector. Courts appoint guardians, also known as conservators (in other states, not PA), to oversee and protect the well-being of elderly or incapacitated individuals. This requires a formalized process and is not undertaken without meticulous consideration of the individual’s interests, as it transfers the majority of the individual’s rights to the guardian. In return, it is the utmost responsibility of the guardian to respect the ward’s wishes, provide as much autonomy as able, and ultimately maximize the well-being and flourishing of the individual.

Sadly, our country’s current state is filled with examples of abuse of this system, as guardianship has become an industry associated with the mistreatment and exploitation of vulnerable individuals for profit.


Our guardianship company was founded in direct opposition to these horrifying abuses. We saw a great need for compassionate, genuine, honest care of elderly and incapacitated individuals in the Pittsburgh area, and founded ourselves as a response to the silent cry for help coming from our community. We are an entirely female-led group with decades of expertise in medical ethics, complex guardianship cases, and responsible wealth management. At our core, we exist to care.


The beauty of this work is that, in essence, our style of guardianship is about extending stories.


We came into Frank’s (name changed for anonymity) story at one of his darkest moments. Following the death of a loved one, Frank’s physical and mental health were in disarray and he had entered bankruptcy. In a moment of crisis, he was found alone on the floor one afternoon without help. With no family to help, the court appointed guardianship to Federated Guardians and we went to work. We met with Frank, learned about his life and history, about who and what mattered most to him. We came up with a comprehensive plan to get his life back on track. Within a few short months, we rescued his financial situation, helped him find quality housing with nursing care, and re-established him within the medical system to receive all of his medical needs, including a psychologist who continues to meet with him at home 2-3 times per week. We meet with him on a weekly basis because he asks for us and says our visits make a difference in his demeanor and ability to thrive. In short, we have been working hard to extend Frank’s story and bring it more life. His story is the story we want for all of our clients.


If you would like to support our important work in the Pittsburgh community, our clients would be grateful for your donations toward their flourishing. Please visit our Facebook page to support our work directly.

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