Guardianship is a legal relationship that protects and benefits another person, referred to as a ward. Most guardianship are established for children no longer being raised by their parents, or for those over the age of majority whose mental or physical incapacity keeps them from taking care of themselves. There are different kinds of guardianship, such as:
- Co-guardianship, where two people protect the ward’s interests. This type of guardianship prevents a particular person from abusing his or her power.
- Limited guardianship, where a person is appointed to help a ward make decisions in instances where they cannot make a sound judgment.
- Property guardianship, where the guardian’s primary concern is management of the ward’s financial and real assets.
- Guardian Ad Litem, where a person is appointed to manage and protect the ward’s best interests during legal proceedings.
The end of a Guardianship
Legal guardianship typically last until one of the following occurs:
- The ward reaches the age of majority (18 in most places)
- The ward passes away
- The ward’s financial assets are depleted (in the case of a financial guardianship)
- A judge decides that the guardianship is not needed
Property guardians, also called conservators or custodians, are people who have the legal authority and responsibility to manage the ward’s finances. In most cases, conservator ships protect those with advanced dementia, a serious injury, illness or coma. Custodians remain under court supervision, which serves to protect the incapacitated ward’s real and financial interests.
Anyone with an interest in the ward’s well-being can start the guardianship process. To do so, you will need an attorney to petition in the ward’s county court. Some states require that legal notice be given before the case begins, and in nearly every case the ward is legally entitled to representation at hearings. If the ward cannot afford an attorney, the court will appoint one.
People Eligible for Guardianship
In determining who will serve as a conservator or guardian, courts consider factors such as who participates in the ward’s life and considers their needs, and whether their choice is supported by the ward’s family.
Hiring an Attorney in Guardianship Cases
To petition a local court for a guardianship, you will need the help of an attorney. Talking to a lawyer with Michaelsangerlaw.com will help you understand the complex legal process, and it will help to protect your and the ward’s best interests.