Do I Need to Have a Physician Weigh In?

By elder law and estate planning attorney Rick Law.  Founder and Managing Partner of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law.  West suburban Chicagoland’s senior advocates and legal counsel for families with loved ones who are afraid of losing everything due to the high cost of long term care.

When establishing a case for guardianship, the physician should provide testimony as to the exact diagnosis of the alleged disabled person, including the effect that such a diagnosis has on the respondent’s cognitive functioning.

At trial, if you are the one petitioning to be elected guardian, your counsel should elicit testimony from the physician as to the respondent’s prognosis or the permanency that the diagnosis has on the respondent’s cognitive functioning. This can be very important in early stages of Alzheimer’s disease when the disease may not be so easy to spot to the layperson.

You should have your attorney speak to the physician regarding this issue prior to trial and should already know the answer that the physician will provide.

If the physician concludes that the respondent is only partially incapable of making personal and financial decisions, the physician also must provide testimony as to which types of decisions the respondent can or cannot make. Lay witness testimony can substantiate the physician’s opinion.

Before stating an opinion as to the respondent’s level of incompetency at trial, physicians should clearly establish and testify;

  • as to the date(s) they evaluated the respondent,
  • the length of time spent during the evaluation(s),
  • whether they reviewed any medical records prior to the evaluation(s),
  • whether they relied on the opinions of other medical professionals before formulating their opinion, and the types of questions that were asked of the respondent at the evaluation.

The proposed guardian should also testify as to the proposed care plan for the person with alleged disabilities, the appropriateness of which can then be supported by additional expert testimony of a social worker, care manager, or physician.

If your loved one is in danger of being physically or mentally incapacitated, and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.


Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine,, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

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