In the event that an adult lacks the capacity to care for themselves or manage their affairs, it is possible to seek a guardianship over that person. A lack of capacity can be the result of many circumstances such as mental illness, mental retardation, dementia, epilepsy, autism, disease, injury, etc. It can also apply to the elderly who are no longer able to handle their own care and/or affairs due to age. The person under a guardianship is called a Ward. In the event that the Ward does not have a living will, power of attorney or other health care directive, or if one exists and it is not adequate, we suggest that you contact our attorneys to discuss seeking a guardianship.
What are the types of Guardianship?
There are three types of guardianship:
- Guardian of the person - manages the personal decisions affecting the ward;
- Guardian of the estate - manages the financial decisions of the ward; and
- General guardian - manages both personal and financial decisions of the ward.
Every situation is different and guardianship does not have to be broad, it can be limited in scope. Guardianships can be created to allow the Ward as much freedom as necessary so that they retain some control over their life.
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How is a Guardianship Established?
A guardianship does have to be established through a court proceeding. The general process is:
- A petition for guardianship is filed with the Court;
- All interested parties are notified about the proceeding;
- The Court appoints a Guardian ad Litem to ensure that the Ward’s interests and rights are protected; and
- A hearing is held for the court to determine if a guardianship is necessary.
If you are interested in seeking a guardianship over a loved one, need to modify an existing guardianship, or if you need help defending in an action for guardianship against yourself, we can help. We have a team of experienced estate attorneys that are knowledgeable in guardianship proceedings.
Contact our office for a consultation. Our team of estate attorneys are experienced in all areas of estate planning and can assist you in understanding the long-term impact your decisions may have. Call us at 336-379-1390 to schedule your consultation today.
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