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November 14, 2023

New book from the ABA helps lawyers represent people in guardianship cases

WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2023 – The American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging  recently published book, “Defense Against Guardianship: A Lawyer’s Guide to Representing Individuals in Guardianship Cases,”  is a handbook for lawyers to use as a resource when developing a defense for a client in response to a guardianship action.

“Defense work is about the law, about due process, but more importantly in guardianship defense, it is about human and constitutional rights,” said David Godfrey, a co-author of the book and director of the ABA Commission on Law and Aging. “We need to view these cases as being about preserving the dignity of choice that should be a fundamental human right.

The book is a practical guide and offers instructions on various steps in a guardianship case, including:

  • How to avoid the initial appointment of a guardian
  • Understanding the basics of capacity
  • Durable power of attorney as a defense tool against an adult guardianship
  • Health care decision-making
  • Avoiding guardianship through financial management
  • Considering actual abilities
  • Interventions prior to a guardianship hearing
  • Witnesses
  • Court proceedings
  • Modifications and terminations
  • Defense strategies
  • Picking the best guardian when all else fails

The handbook is dedicated to “the pursuit of justice for the millions of adults who have had their rights and dignity stripped from them.”

Title:  Defense Against Guardianship: A Lawyer's Guide to   Representing Individuals in Guardianship Cases”
Publisher: ABA Commission on Law and Aging
Pages: 142
Product Code: 4280033
ISBN: 9781639054213
Size: 6 x 9
Binding: Paperback
Price: $44.95 members/ $49.95 nonmembers 
Orders: ABA Webstore

This is the second book published by COLA. The first, “Assessment of Older Adults with Diminished Capacities: A Handbook for Lawyers,” is in its second edition. 

“We thank both the Borchard Foundation Center on Law and Aging and the Foundation of Philanthropic Funds for providing funding for the development of this handbook,” said Robyn Shapiro, chair of the Commission on Law and Aging. “Without their support, this important work likely would not have come to fruition. We believe that the handbook will make a real difference in guardianship defense work across the country.”

The ABA is the largest voluntary association of lawyers in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.