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A guardian must be at least 18 years old and must be physically capable of caring for and financially supporting the proposed ward. They must be of good moral character and must have no felony convictions. A guardian may be required to be related to the ward in some states, while others allow courts to appoint non-relatives and even social service agencies to guardianships. Every state has a public guardianship program, funded by state or local governments, to serve incapacitated adults who do not have the means to pay for the costs associated with guardianship and do not have family or friends who can serve as a guardian. A guardian is entitled to payment from the ward’s estate.
Guardian of an Adult
State law governs guardianships. A guardian is a person or entity appointed by a court to care for a person who cannot meet his own needs, known as a ward. Powers and duties of guardians are similar to that of parents with respect to minor children. A court cannot appoint a guardian for an adult unless he is subject to a disability that prevents him from effectively caring for himself.
Certifying that the proposed ward is incapacitated, by preparing an affidavit to submit to the court, is the first step in the adult guardianship process. The type of disability suffered by the proposed ward must be specified and you must explain the effect of the disability on his ability to care for himself. The affidavit must be signed by a licensed anyone who participated in the evaluation of the proposed ward including the physician. You must then submit a petition for guardianship to the appropriate state court. The court will then rule on any objections to the proposed guardianship and will investigate the fitness of the proposed guardian. Guardianship cases are actively monitored and overseen by the court.
Guardianship of a Child
A guardian is a person who has legal responsibility for a child instead of the parents. Guardians are appointed for children when the parents are deceased or in cases of abandonment or if the parents are no longer able to provide care.
It is to think about your child’s financial future, however, appointing a guardian is even more critical when you sit down to create your estate plan. Find out how to protect your children.
It is never easy to consider our mortality, but being a parent will naturally make you think about the future. When you have kids, their security is your prime concern. Designating a guardian—in the event that you should you ever become incapacitated—is a crucial part of protecting your child’s future.
Picking a guardian
Picking a guardian can be difficult, and there are many things to consider. This is the person who will be raising your children. A guardian will make decisions about your children’s health, schooling and moral training. Some things to consider when selecting a guardian are:
- Does this person care deeply for my children?
- Is this person responsible enough and emotionally up to the task of raising my children?
- Is the person 18 years or over?
- Would my children need to be uprooted and moved away from their support system if they went to live with this guardian?
- Does this person have a living situation with adequate space?
- Will your children still have enough access to close friends and family?
- What are the person’s religious and moral beliefs?
- Does the person have any medically sound enough to handle the responsibility?
- If you cannot leave enough financial assets for your children’s care, can the potential guardian financially provide for my children?