Guardianship involves obtaining a legal pass to exercise legal authority on behalf of another person. The guardian is a court appointee while the other party to whom guardianship is granted is the protected person.
A protected individual can be a child or an adult. Taking charge as a guardian does not transfer absolute power to you over the protected person’s assets and finances. A guardian should seek court’s approval to use any asset or property. For finances, the court assigns a “blocked account” to keep the money under control.
Remember, guardianship concept is complicated and you need the help of an expert. A simple search such as ‘guardianship lawyers near me’ could give you more options that you think. Here are the three main reasons why you would need to act as a guardian for another person.
1. A Child whose Parents Are Dead
If a child is a minor and his or her parents are dead. In the event that their parents died without prior planning of a legal guardian, you can apply to act as their guardian. In a situation where there are conflicting interests on who should be the legal guardian, the court must appoint a legal representative for the children.
Guardians should take charge and provide yearly account until the child reaches the age of the majority. Guardianship ends the moment the child is 18 years of age. An alternative should be to put up a trust fund under guardianship to benefit the children before handing over to them at an appropriate age.
2. A Case for a Mentally Incapacitated Adult
For the guardianship to be approved, a doctor’s certificate declaring the person to be given the protection has to be present. The legal representative should represent the ‘ward’ – the person who needs guardianship. So, if your loved one needs a guardian, it makes perfect sense to hire a good lawyer.
To avoid possible family feuds, the court may seek yearly accountability as long the guardianship is in force. Enforce a power of attorney to name a person to act as your agent when you can no longer be a guardian.
3. When an Adult Loses Functionality in Some Areas
The position of a guardian with some limitations may work in such a case. The doctor should confirm capabilities of the ward and the areas that need assistance. A court will favor the reduction of the guardian powers unless the doctor thinks otherwise. Do not forget to draw the power of attorney when signing up for limited guardianship.
Filing of guardianship should take place in a country where the person to get guardian protection has been living for at least six months. Guardianship is a costly affair if not time consuming.
If possible, advice people to take on the issue of guardianship seriously by appointing trustees to act on their behalf when the time comes to avoid family conflicts. The last thing you want is to stir conflicts.