Guardianship is the legal process by which an applicant demonstrates to the court that a person is not capable of managing his or her financial or medical affairs.
We generally have two types of guardianship clients:
(1) Our typical client is an adult who is taking care of his or her elderly parent or wants to take care of his or her parent because it is clear that the parent can no longer care for himself or herself. The aging parent has become very forgetful and may need help paying his or her bills or communicating with his or her doctor. The elderly parent may become a target of a con artist or may be a danger to him/her or to those around him/her.
(2) Our client is a parent who needs to be appointed guardian over his or her child that is about to turn 18. The child is unable to manage his or her finances and is unable to make medical decisions. The parent needs to be appointed guardian in order to help continue to make the medical decisions for his or her child (as well as be able to communicate with the child’s doctor) and to manage the finances of the child.
The attorneys at Maverick Law understand that the guardianship process can be stressful and intimidating. We are here to guide you each step of the way.
At the initial meeting, we will discuss the procedure to appoint a guardian for the incapacitated person (“Ward”).
We will provide you with a Physician’s Statement that is required to be filled out by the Ward’s physician in order to begin the guardianship process. During the initial meeting, our lawyers will also explain that there are two types of guardians:
- Guardian of the Estate – the person appointed to handle the finances of the Ward. The Guardian of the Estate is legally required to file an annual accounting detailing the expenses and receipts of the Ward’s estate.
- Guardian of the Person – the person appointed to handle the medical decisions of the Ward and determine where the Ward lives. The Guardian of the Person is legally required to file an annual report detailing the medical condition of the ward.
Depending on your situation, one or both types of Guardians may be necessary. (One person can act as both Guardian of the Estate and Guardian of the Person.) Our attorneys will help you determine which type of guardianship is necessary.
The process to appoint a permanent guardian may take approximately 6-8 weeks; however, if the Ward is in immediate danger or is a danger to others, we can file an application to appoint a temporary guardian, which can normally be accomplished within 2 weeks. The temporary guardianship only lasts 60 days, at which time it either terminates or becomes a permanent guardianship.
After a guardian has been appointed, our lawyers will help you maintain the guardianship properly by assisting you in the preparation of the annual accounting and annual report. We will also help you obtain permission from the court to pay bills and sell property if necessary.
If you have a loved one who can no longer manage their finances or their health, please call Maverick Law and we will help you establish a guardianship in order to protect your loved one and prevent any potential harm that may occur.
Alternatives to Guardianships – In order to avoid the necessity of a guardianship, there are other ways to avoid it ahead of time with appropriate legal planning. You should execute a Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (aka financial power of attorney) and Medical Power of Attorney, while you have the legal capacity to do so. You should also consider executing a Will and possibly Management Trust. The attorneys at Maverick Law would be happy to discuss these other alternatives to guardianship.
To discuss pursuing a guardianship or any questions related to a guardianship, please contact Maverick Law to schedule an initial consultation.