The Basics of Guardianship

When does somebody need a legal guardian?

The point in time where an individual is seen to require a guardian is different depending on the state where they reside. The general rule of thumb is that an individual is in need of a guardian when they are incapable of making decisions for themselves (seen in the inability to make responsible decisions), this can be brought on through mental deterioration or other physical and mental issues. It is always advisable to speak with an attorney or another individual that is knowledgeable in current elder law before making any decisions linked to guardianship.

Seeking out an elder lawyer with years of experience like the folks here at Rheinhardt & Bray is the best thing that you can do when trying to traverse the road to potential guardianship for a loved one. Somebody cannot be declared incompetent by the state just because they make irresponsible decisions; the only way they can be found incompetent is if they are shown to lack the capacity to make sound decisions on a very regular basis. It is also not always a certainty that an individual will/can be declared incompetent based solely on a developmental disability or mental illness.

How can somebody file for a guardianship?

Anyone interested in the well being of an individual who could be deemed incapacitated can request a guardianship of that person. It is important to have an attorney on retainer for this process to file a petition for hearing in the probate court in the county of residence of the individual whom guardianship over is in question. When the potential guardian, ward (the person whom you are looking to have guardianship over) and legal representation get a hearing in court, the court will decide if the person seeking the role of guardian is responsible enough for and the ward is in true need of guardianship.

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