A guardian is a person appointed by a probate court to act on behalf of another individual, called the ward, who is incapable of managing his or her own person and/or affairs either because of age, incompetence, or physical infirmity.
The first situation, age, is fairly straightforward. Anyone under the age of 18 years old typically cannot manage his or her own property and needs either a legal custodian or guardian to ensure their safety and well-being. A guardianship over a minor generally falls into two categories:
1 – The minor lacks a suitable parent and someone else must be appointed as their guardian. This could be because both parents have passed away or because the child’s parents are deemed unsuitable for some reason.
2 – The second scenario involves a settlement upon a minor, which could include a personal injury claim or an inheritance.
The probate court is in charge of appointing a guardian, but parents may nominate a proposed guardian in their will and children over the age of 14 may also have a say in the decision.
A guardian may also be necessary if an adult is incapable of managing either his or her person (healthcare decisions) or affairs (financial decisions). A guardian may be appointed to manage just the person or estate or may be appointed to handle both. Prior to appointing a guardian for an adult, the court must find the person is incompetent and for that reason, a guardian is necessary and appropriate.
Guardians over both minors and adults remain under the supervision of the probate court and must submit regular reports to ensure that they are properly caring for their wards. If a friend or family member suspects that a guardian is abusing their role, they should contact the appropriate authorities and may consider taking legal action themselves to terminate the guardianship.
Attorney Rachel Dodds, Estate Planning lawyer in Portage, Summit and Cuyahoga Counties, can help you gain peace of mind by securing these issues. Consulting with an experienced Estate planning lawyer is essential in making sure that your final wishes regarding your property, your loved ones, and your healthcare options are carried out.
Not all lawyers are created equal. In difficult times, it is important to select a lawyer who can relate to your situation in a very professional and sensible way.
Attorney Dodds has the experience you need to address all your questions regarding wills and probate, trusts, drafting and execution of all legal documents, and estate administration. She is a knowledgeable and compassionate lawyer.
Attorney Dodds is a Member of Weisenburger Law Offices, a law firm in Ravenna, OH, located 5 minutes from the Portage County Courthouse. Our lawyers are dedicated to serving clients in Portage and Summit Counties. Weisenburger Law Offices was created in Portage County in 2000 and our lawyers have been servicing the Portage County community ever since.
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