Guardianships of persons over 18 years of age are used to protect someone (the “ward”) who, because of physical incapacity, mental deterioration, mental illness, or developmental disability, lacks sufficient understanding or ability to make or communicate responsible decisions regarding his or her care and is unable to manage his or her estate (financial affairs). The guardianship may be limited in scope and may involve a guardian of the person, the estate, or both. While still able to make decisions, a person may use a will or powers of attorney to state a preference for a named person to become his or her guardian if the need arises.
Guardianship of a person under 18 years of age is used to obtain legal custody of and make personal decisions for a minor, including obtaining necessary medical and dental care, enrolling the child in school, and other significant issues regarding his or her well-being. Guardianship of a minor is often used when parents are unable to care for and meet the needs of their child. Parents may consent to a person being the guardian, but if the parents object, the courts will decide whether a guardianship is established. Guardianship of a minor’s estate is created when a minor is either injured and receives a settlement or receives a large sum of money or property from another source. The guardian (generally a parent) must protect the child’s assets until age 18 and must also provide accountings to the court.
Our attorneys have considerable experience handling guardianship matters for adults and minors. We have represented persons for whom guardianships were sought, but in other matters, we’ve represented guardians before, during, and after the process of petitioning for appointment. Additionally, our attorneys have frequently served as guardian ad litem upon the appointment of the courts. Our background with guardianships extends to each and every facet of the process.