What Does a Guardian Do?
Before going through the guardianship process, it’s important to understand what a guardian does and what their duties are. A guardianship is similar to a parent-child relationship. Guardians are responsible for the well-being of their wards, and they must provide them with food, shelter, and education. Guardians have the final say in any decisions about the wards’ personal affairs, healthcare needs, and assets. If the ward is able to, they can have an input into these decisions, but the final decision is up to the guardians themselves.
If you are assigned guardianship, the judge will sign an order detailing your specific powers and duties. In most cases, you can decide where the ward lives and what medical procedures they can and cannot get. Many guardians are required to file an annual report about their ward, stating where they live and what services they are receiving. If a guardian wishes to pay themselves from the ward’s assets, they must get written permission from the court before doing so. If the guardianship is no longer needed, the guardian or the ward can petition the court to revoke guardianship at any time.
How is a Guardian Appointed?
The first step to becoming a guardian is filing a petition with the court. Anyone interested in a child’s well-being can file for guardianship, including family members, friends, community members, or healthcare professionals. After the petition is filed, the minor’s parents will receive notice about the petition from the court. A court visitor will be assigned to evaluate the guardianship proposal and whether or not it is in the child’s best interest.
If there are any objections to the guardianship arrangement, typically from the child’s parents, the individual can file an objection with the court. Similarly, if the court visitor disagrees with the guardianship arrangement, they can also file their objection with the court.
If there are objections, a hearing will likely be held where you can state the importance of the arrangement with the help of a guardianship attorney on our team. During the hearing, the judge will decide whether the individual requires guardianship and whether it is in their best interest.
If a judge determines that an individual does require a guardian, they will sign an order appointing you as the person’s guardian. The ward is now called a protected person, and as their guardian, you are responsible for their well-being and basic needs.
Can a Guardian be Appointed for an Adult?
Guardianship is most often used to assign responsibility for a minor child. However, there are some circumstances where a judge would assign guardianship to an adult. If an individual cannot manage their own affairs or make decisions on their own behalf, a judge may find them in need of guardianship. In many instances, this is because of mental illness, disease, injury, or disabilities. You must present evidence of this incapacitation to the court before a judge can decide whether to assign guardianship. It is important to note that poor judgment or a lack of common sense is not reason enough to assign a guardian to an adult.