When someone cannot act for themselves, they may need a guardianship. This can come up when a person lacks the mental capacity to carry out their own affairs or in cases involving minors.
The term “guardianship” refers to the legal process whereby a “guardian” is appointed for a “ward.” The guardianship can be over the ward’s person or over the ward’s property–or both.
Guardianship over the ward’s person allows the guardian to make medical, living, and other personal decisions for the benefit of the ward. A common example is deciding where the ward is to live. Moving the ward to another county or state requires the guardian to obtain court approval, but moving within the same county generally does not.
Guardianship over the ward’s property allows the guardian to make decisions to buy, mortgage, transfer, sell, etc. the ward’s property. A common example is real estate which is inherited by a minor. The minor does not have the legal capacity to sell the property. Thus, the parent or other caretaker may need guardianship to be able to have the legal authority to transfer clear legal title to third parties.
The guardianship process is a court process. Depending on the county involved, this may be handled by the local probate court or the county or district court.
The court process generally starts with a petition or application, moves on to qualification and appointment, and then moves into a reporting and inventory phase.
The court requires periodic reporting and has some limited oversight. This may include visits by a court-appointed visitor to check in on the ward and it may also include periodic audits.
Our attorneys know guardianship law. This is what we do. From the initial filings to the court hearings, to the various notices and inventory, there isn’t much our attorneys haven’t already seen.
Our attorneys have experience handling various guardianship cases–from simple uncontested guardianships to litigation and contests involving guardianships.
We can handle just about every guardianship matter. This includes advising parents and would-be guardians as to the qualification, process, and closing of guardianship cases.
Clients hire us when they have a loved one who needs a guardian appointed. They also hire us when they are concerned that the ward is not being cared for or his or her property is being stolen or misused.
Please contact one of our guardianship attorneys if you need more information about the guardianship process or if you want to see how we can help with your guardianship matter.