An emergency guardianship allows someone to become an adult’s guardian without going through the court system. It’s designed to provide immediate protection for adults who are unable to manage their affairs or make decisions on their own due to mental health issues, injury, illness, or age.
When petitioning for an emergency guardianship, the petitioner must prove that the adult is unable to make decisions or adequately care for themselves. Additionally, there must be evidence of imminent risk if a guardian isn’t appointed right away. The court may appoint a temporary guardian until more permanent arrangements can be made.
When Is Guardianship of an Adult Necessary?
The underlying purpose of any guardianship is to help a ward who is unable to manage their affairs or daily care. Children require guardianship until they reach the age of majority, but it’s not always as clear when an adult needs a guardian.
Typically, adults need guardianships when they become incapacitated, either partially or fully. Incapacitation can arise due to factors previously mentioned: mental health issues, injury, illness, or age. Because of this, it’s possible for any adult to require guardianship at some point during their life.
Who Can Become a Guardian?
When it comes to the guardianship of an adult, the court will consider possible guardians according to an order of priority.
The order in which possible guardians are considered is as follows:
- Someone nominated by the would-be ward
- Someone currently appointed as a guardian to the ward
- Someone nominated by the will of the most recent guardian
- Someone nominated by the spouse of the would-be ward
- Someone who is a sibling of the would-be ward
- Someone who has lived with the would-be ward for more than six months and is approved by the court
Those nominated by another person to become a guardian must be nominated in writing while the nominator is of sound mind and not acting under fraud, undue influence, or duress. If an interested party believes someone is inappropriately attempting to become a guardian, they may be challenged with legal action.
How Long Does an Emergency Guardianship Last?
Special guardianships are limited in their duration and don’t typically last more than 10-30 days. This is because it’s expected that the emergency conditions that necessitated the guardianship, such as sudden illness or injury, are properly addressed by the time the guardianship expires.
If the adult ward requires additional assistance, they or a loved one may petition the court to assign a general or limited guardianship, which may persist indefinitely.
Can an Incapacitated Adult Fight an Emergency Guardianship?
Due to the conditions that typically create the need for an emergency guardianship, incapacitated adults may be able to challenge an emergency guardianship. That said, this is the primary reason why these guardianships are limited in their duration.
When an incapacitated adult regains capacity, they may be able to remove the guardianship by petitioning the court. If someone seeks a limited or general guardianship after the special guardianship ends, then the adult who would be subject to the guardianship can attend the hearing, present witnesses and evidence, and cross-examine witnesses and evidence to fight the guardianship.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
At Bundren Law Firm P.C., we understand how important guardianship legal matters can be for families. Our experienced lawyers are knowledgeable and experienced in guardianship law, and are dedicated to helping our clients protect their loved ones.
We provide comprehensive guardianship services, from the initial filing of guardianship papers to ongoing guardianship issues such as guardianship disputes. We also provide assistance with guardianship administration, guardianship termination, and guardianship accountings. Our attorney strives to ensure that our clients’ guardianship matters are handled in a timely and effective manner.
To learn more about how we can help you protect a loved one, contact us online to request a consultation.