Guardianship refers to the legal process of appointing someone to care for another person or their property. People who are dealing with guardianship for the first time often have many questions, which is why we’ve compiled this small rundown of answers to a few of the most common questions we hear from clients.
Take some time to review these questions and answers, and consider all of the information below as a primer for discussing your unique situation with an attorney.
When Is Guardianship Needed?
Guardianship is necessary whenever someone is determined to be unable to care for themselves or their property.
There is an automatic presumption that a minor child (someone younger than 18) is in need of a legal guardian if their parents are unable to provide care. In most cases, this can happen as a result of the parent’s incapacitation, incarceration, substance abuse, mental health issues, or death.
A court can also assign a legal guardian to an adult if the adult is determined to be completely or partially unable to handle their own affairs. This may occur when a person with special needs ages into legal adulthood, or when an adult previously without special needs becomes incapacitated through illness, injury, or mental deterioration.
Who Can Be a Legal Guardian?
Legal guardians can be anyone the court deems appropriate for the role, but they are typically relatives of the person in need of guardianship. That said, it’s not impossible for a parent to assign guardianship of a child to someone who’s not a blood relative of the child, such as the parent’s partner or a trusted friend.
What Exactly Does a Guardian Do?
A legal guardian can be in charge of a person’s care, managing their property, or both of these. When the court appoints a guardian, the scope of their role in the minor child or dependent adult’s life is clearly defined along these lines.
If a legal guardian is tasked with the care of a minor child, for example, they may be expected to welcome the child into their home and provide the child with food, clothing, and shelter, essentially fulfilling the role the child’s parent had in their life.
Adult dependents may need similar care, although legal guardians in charge of partial care may only be tasked with checking in on the adult in their care on a regular basis.
The court will also likely implement reporting requirements that the legal guardian must follow. These requirements are to ensure the person in need of care is receiving it, and/or that the legal guardian is appropriately managing their property.
When Does Guardianship End?
Guardianship can end in a few different ways, such as these:
- The child turns 18
- The adult is no longer in need of care
- The court removes an inappropriate guardian
- The court terminates the entire guardianship
- The child or adult dependent dies
Most cases where guardianship ends, however, occur when children turn 18 or there is a legal challenge to the guardianship arrangement.
When Should I Contact a Lawyer for Help?
Anytime you’re involved in a guardianship matter, you should contact a lawyer for assistance. This is especially the case if you are involved in a guardianship dispute, although seeking guardianship also requires a lot of legal competence and experience to handle.
If you would like to learn more about the experience and skill our attorney can bring to your guardianship issue, you can reach out to Bundren Law Firm, P.C. today.