A guardian handles decisions about the care of a minor child or an adult who is not able to care for themselves. The Probate Court appoints a guardian to make decisions about a ward’s person and/or estate with the court’s guidance and supervision. A guardian can be a relative, a friend, a volunteer, an attorney, or an agency who swears an oath to act in the ward’s best interest.
Who needs a guardian?
Often, families are faced with the care of a senior who is declining, an adult child with a disability or a minor child whose parents are not present. Establishing a guardianship helps them to make financial decisions, find appropriate housing, or obtain necessary services for their loved one.
When is a guardian needed?
Families may notice that an older relative is becoming so forgetful it interferes with daily living skills such as cooking, attending doctor’s appointments, maintaining their living quarters, or getting lost while driving on familiar routes. A child who reaches age 18 and, due to a disability, cannot make decisions for himself or herself may need a guardian. No matter the extent of their disability, once someone is an adult no one can legally make decisions for them. Minor children who lack parents may need a court appointed guardian.
How is a guardian appointed?
The process begins with a potential guardian submitting an application along with a doctor’s evaluation to the Probate Court where their loved one resides. If the potential guardian is asking to manage their loved one’s estate, a bond may be necessary. Other requirements include a background check. Next, the Probate Court will hold a hearing to find if the person needs a guardian and if the applicant is qualified to be the guardian.
Why do I need an attorney?
The attorneys at Holland & Muirden can help you make an informed decision about whether you need to create a guardianship in your particular circumstances. We can help you set up a guardianship or choose another, less restrictive solution. Our attorneys can help with everything needed to protect your loved one.