Legal guardianship is a significant responsibility that requires careful consideration and adherence to the law. Unfortunately, even with the best intentions, mistakes can be made that may have serious consequences. We'll discuss some of the most common mistakes legal guardians can make and provide practical tips to help you avoid them.
Failing to Understand the Legal Process
One of the most critical mistakes legal guardians can make is not fully understanding the legal process involved in obtaining guardianship.
It's essential to educate yourself about the legal requirements, paperwork, and deadlines associated with guardianship proceedings. Failing to do so may result in delays or even the denial of your guardianship application.
That said, you're not expected to know everything. That's why you should entrust an attorney with experience in guardianship law for legal advice.
Neglecting to Create a Comprehensive Care Plan
Another common mistake is not creating a comprehensive care plan for the ward. A care plan outlines the ward's needs, including medical, educational, and emotional support. Failing to develop a robust care plan can lead to confusion, inadequate care, and potential legal issues.
To help you create an effective care plan, the American Bar Association's Commission on Law and Aging provides a helpful guide that you may wish to use as a starting point.
Ignoring Communication & Collaboration
Legal guardians must maintain open lines of communication with all relevant parties involved in the ward's life. Failing to communicate effectively with healthcare providers, educators, and other family members can hinder the ward's well-being and potentially jeopardize the guardianship.
An attorney can provide personalized insight on how you can effectively communicate as a legal guardian while also protecting your liability and privacy.
Handling a ward's finances is a significant responsibility that requires meticulous attention to detail. Mismanaging finances can not only lead to legal complications but also impact the ward's quality of life.
The most important thing you can do to avoid mismanaging a ward's finances is to keep them separate from your own. Commingling these assets is prohibited and can trigger the termination of your legal guardianship along with other severe consequences.
As a fiduciary, a great amount of trust and liability is on your shoulders. If you need help handling matters related to a ward's finances, consult with an attorney before taking action.
Neglecting Regular Review & Updates
Guardianship arrangements should be periodically reviewed and updated to reflect the ward's changing needs and circumstances. Failing to do so can result in outdated care plans, legal complications, and potential challenges to the guardianship.
You may wish to review and update a ward's care plan on a quarterly or annual basis, depending on the ward's need for care.
Legal guardianship is a significant responsibility that demands careful attention to detail and adherence to the law. By avoiding common mistakes such as those described above, you can ensure the well-being of your ward and maintain a successful guardianship.
At Bundren Law Firm P.C., we understand the complexities of legal guardianship and are here to support you every step of the way. Our experienced attorney can provide guidance, resources, and legal representation to help you navigate the guardianship process effectively.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about our services.