Financial and Legal Matters

             Dementia is a degenerative disease, which means that the symptoms will become worse over time, thus advance planning is favored. Advance health care planning often raises some important legal and financial issues for the future which includes preferred priorities of care, discussed by the person themselves while they still have the capacity to make decisions together with the family and caregivers. It is important to seek legal consult to assist the patient, relatives and caregivers with regards to these matters.

                  A patient diagnosed with dementia qualifies as an incompetent under the definition of the law on guardianship. (Rule 92, Sec 2, Revised Rules of Court) Any relatives, friends or other person in behalf of the incompetent may file a petition before the court to be appointed as her guardian. (Rule 93, Sec 1, Revised Rules of Court) The appointed judicial guardian acts as the administrator and manager of the properties and affairs of the ward. The general duties and responsibilities of a guardian are likewise laid down under Rule 96 of the Revised Rules of Court which includes among others: payment of the ward’s debts, settling of her accounts, collecting debts, rendering an inventory of the ward’s estate, appearing in court in actions for the ward, and other duties specified by the said rule.

               Basically, a judicial guardian is a competent person appointed by the court over the person and/or properties of the incompetent to represent the latter in all of his/her civil acts and transactions. For more information on the law of guardianship, kindly refer to Rules 92-97, Revised Rules of Court.