Guardianship of an adult is when the judge chooses a person, at least 18 years or older, to take care of another with an impairing disability. Guardianship is needed when a person is unable to make and communicate personal care decisions or manage their own finances due to a mental, physical, or developmental disability.
There are basically 2 types of guardianship of adults:
1. Guardianship of the Person, which is naming a person to have control over the health and welfare of the disabled person.
2. Guardianship of the Estate, which is naming a person to have control over the finances of the disable person.
To become a guardian, a person must be at least 18 years old, a U.S. resident, have sound mind, not be legally disabled, and not have a felony conviction that involved harm or threat to a child.
The steps to obtain Guardianship include:
1. Filing the Petition in the court, including a physician's report describing the person's physical and mental capacity, to determine the kind of guardianship needed.
2. The alleged disabled person must be served with summons and a copy of the petition.
3. Usually the court will appoint an attorney to serve as the guardian ad litem, also known as the GAL, to act as the "eyes and ears" of the court, and advocate for the best interest of the alleged disabled person.
4. At the hearing, the GAL reports to the court, the condition of the alleged disabled person and may recommend the type of guardianship needed.
5. The court reviews all the information presented, and either enters a limited or plenary guardianship order or finds that no guardianship is warranted. If guardianship is granted, then the letters of office are issued. The letters of office is a document which gives the appointed guardian the authority to speak to third parties on behalf of the disabled person.
6. Finally, Guardians are then responsible for the disabled person and must periodically report to the court about their care and welfare.
Guardianship can be costly and complicated. If you need an attorney to handle your guardianship matter, please call The Evans Williams Law Group and schedule a consultation.