Guardianships – Caring for a Minor Child or an Aging Loved One

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A guardianship is a court ordered arrangement used to declare one person incapacitated (“the ward”) while authorizing another person (“the guardian”) to act on their behalf when making legal, financial and medical decisions. A guardianship can be used to appoint a guardian for care of a minor, or an adult unable to manage his or her personal affairs.

Circumstances may arise causing people to seek help for family and friends through guardianship. Some examples include orphaned children, dementia patients and victims of traumatic brain injuries.

In most circumstances, the individual’s treating physician must first certify and attest to the nature of the incapacity of the person.

In determining the person qualified to serve as guardian, the Court considers the following factors –

  • Any request by the person alleged to be incapacitated, including designations in their Power of Attorney or Will;
  • Any request by a minor who is at least 14 years old;
  • Any request by the incapacitated person’s spouse;
  • The relationship of the proposed guardian and ward;
  • Any person acting under the ward’s Power of Attorney; and
  • The best interests of the ward.

Once the Court is assured that the need for guardianship exists, the Court, after due notice to the incapacitated person and his or her closest living relatives, will appoint a Guardian.

A guardian is a fiduciary and must therefore act in good faith to protect the minor or incapacitated person. A guardian may be responsible for ensuring that a person’s basic needs are met, such as food, clothing, shelter education, and medical care. A guardian may also be responsible for managing the finances of an individual if they are not capable of doing so. In that instance, the guardian will have a duty to report financial activity to the court. The level of responsibility that a guardian has over an individual will vary based on the circumstances and the determination by the Court.

The Law Office of Shannon G. Starr, LLC handles guardianship cases. To learn more, or set up a consultation, contact Shannon at shannon@sgstarrlaw.com.

Disclaimer – The content of this article is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case or circumstance. Every situation is different and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.