When a parent becomes unable to properly care of a child, whether or death or other reasons, a guardianship may be the right option to create a court-approved relationship to ensure the child or children are property cared for and loved.
Guardianship, also referred to as conservatorship, is a legal arrangement that places an individual, also known as a ward or protected person, under the supervision of a guardian or custodian. There are two main types of guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate or property.
A guardian is typically a family member, friend, or fiduciary appointed by the court. Unlike adult guardianships, the courts do not require a professional evaluation from a physician. Since the child is under eighteen, they are concerned incapacitated for legal purposes.
Appointment of a guardian can materially limit the rights and privileges of the protected individual in areas such as:
- Choosing residence and school
- Providing medical treatment
- Making end-of-life decisions
- Making property transactions
- Obtaining a driver’s license
- Owning, possessing, or carrying a firearm or other weapon
- Contracting or filing law suits
Right to Due Process
In order to safeguard the protected person’s right to due process, he or she is usually provided with notice and is entitled to attend all legal proceedings related to guardianship. In addition, the protected person may obtain representation by an attorney, present evidence, and confront and cross-examine all witnesses. For minors, the parents of the child or children must be given notice and an opportunity to object. In rare cases, the court can hear emergency petition when a child’s life is in danger. Please contact our office immediately if you have concerns regarding the welfare of a child.
Guardianship of the Person
Guardianship of the person grants authority over non-financial matters such as issues that impact the personal well-being of the protected person, including making important medical decisions. The appointed guardian is normally tasked with the following responsibilities:
- Determining and maintaining residence
- Providing informed consent to and supervising medical treatment
- Consenting to and supervising non-medical services such as education, psychiatric or behavioral counseling
- Making end-of-life decisions
- Maintaining the protected person’s autonomy as much as possible
Guardianship of the Estate or Property
Guardianship of the estate or property empowers the guardian to make important financial decisions on behalf of the protected person, including:
- Organizing, gathering and protecting assets
- Arranging appraisals of property
- Safeguarding property and assets from loss, whenever possible
- Managing income from assets
- Making appropriate payments
- Obtaining court approval prior to any sale of major assets
Our law firm routinely works with guardians to determine the best course of action for minor children, file the required paperwork and represent them in proceedings with the appropriate administrative agencies. We also work with the guardian to keep an up-to-date accounting of the estate.
If you believe your loved one may be in the need for a guardianship call (501) 834-2070 or complete our initial questionnaire online.