When a person is unable to care for their own physical or financial well-being or to make competent decisions concerning personal, medical, or financial matters, a guardianship may become necessary. Guardianship is the legal process in which a court appoints a person (known as a “guardian”) to act on behalf of an incapacitated person or a minor child (known as the “ward.”). The guardian may be a limited guardian appointed over the ward’s physical person; or the ward’s finances. If the person is appointed over both the ward’s person and financial estate, then it is considered a General Guardianship.
A guardian has a fiduciary duty to act in the best interests of the ward at all times. Penalties may be assessed against a guardian for failing to comply with the legal requirements and duties. A person cannot act as guardian of another without the legal intervention of the court. The guardianship process, at best, is a routine legal proceeding when all persons involved are in agreement. However, when the guardianship matter is contested, the process can be an intimidating and emotionally exhausting experience.
As our elderly population continues to grow, more people will need assistance with their affairs of daily living if unable to handle such matters themselves. Assuming responsibility for the welfare of another person is a tremendous responsibility. While the decision to obtain guardianship over a loved one can be difficult, the attorneys at Barrow & Grimm are available to guide you through this complicated process.