What is a guardian?
- A guardian is a person appointed by a court to be legally responsible a person or a person’s property, if the court has decided that that person cannot make decisions for himself. A person who has a guardian is called a ward.
Why are guardians appointed?
- Guardians are appointed if a ward cannot make decisions about his health or property because of a legal or medical incapacity. This most times requires a full medical and mental evaluation by a doctor, whose report must be submitted to the court.
Who can serve as a guardian?
- The probate court will most likely choose a blood relative—like a spouse, child, or parent—if one is available. However, the court can appoint anyone that is nominated, unless there is a reason that that person cannot or should not serve. If no one is nominated, and the ward has no family, the court can choose a guardian from a list of court-approved guardians.
What does a guardian do?
- There are two types of guardians: guardians of the person, who make medical decisions for the ward, and guardians of the estate, who make financial decisions for the ward.
- Guardians of the estate may do any of the following tasks:
- Pay debts of the ward
- Collect debts owing to the ward
- Settle accounts or distribute assets on behalf of the ward
- Deposit incoming funds into the ward’s bank accounts
- Invest the ward’s funds that are not being used for his health and welfare, and
- Sell assets for the ward as necessary
- Guardians of the person may do any of the following tasks:
- Make personal decisions for the ward like where the ward should live
- Determine what healthcare needs to be provided for the ward
- Serve as the guardian or the ward’s minor children
- The guardian must always act in the ward’s best interest.
How do I appoint a guardian for someone or choose the guardian I want selected, in case I become incompetent?
- There are documents you can file if you want to make your wishes known about who you would like to serve as your guardian if you become incompetent.
- There is a formal proceeding by which you can appoint a guardian for someone, even if that person does not think he needs a guardian.
- Contact our office today if you would like a lawyer’s help!