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Are you ready to be someone's legal guardian?

People can end up needing guardians for all kinds of reasons. An accident could leave your sibling with a head injury that impairs his cognitive skills and puts him in a nursing home. Your mother may develop dementia toward the end of her life and no longer be able to make her own decisions. You may be asked to take on the responsibility for a young niece who suffers from an intellectual disability if her parents pass away.

Before you become anyone's legal guardian -- no matter how close your relationship or good your intentions -- you need to make certain you're ready for the responsibilities. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself before you decide:

1. Do you have the time?

Life can be complicated. If you're already overwhelmed with the responsibilities of your regular life, including your spouse, your children and your career, adding a guardianship into the picture may be more than you can handle. There's no shame in admitting that you don't have the time to handle the job.

2. Is your life stable?

As a guardian, you have the job of making certain that your ward has a sustainable living situation and adequate care. You'll also need to make regular decisions about your ward's medical needs. That may be hard to do if you're unsettled in your own life. Trying to manage your ward's future could be impossible if you aren't even sure where your own path is going.

3. Are you organized enough?

As a guardian, you'll be required to give the court updates about your ward's living situation, medical state and assets. You may also be asked to show what type of services your ward is receiving for any medical condition. If paperwork isn't your thing, you may want to pass the guardianship to someone who can handle it.

If you answered, "Yes," to all of those questions, then you're probably ready to take on a guardianship if you're asked. For specific advice that's tailored to your situation, however, you'd be wise to get a little legal guidance.

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