When a child or an incapacitated adult is unable to care for themselves, a guardianship may be required. In today’s post, we’ll talk all about guardianships, the limitations, purposes, different types, and working with a reliable and experienced guardianship attorney.
Guardianships protect those individuals who can’t be independent because of infancy (age), disability, or incapacity. In the state of Arizona, court-appointed guardianships are given to an individual or an entity. These court-appointed guardians are expected to make crucial decisions and care for an incapacitated adult or a minor, also called a “ward.”
Guardianship of a Minor
A court may decide to appoint a legal guardian to care for a child or a minor, who is not their biological child. These appointments are assigned in several situations. One of them is when the parents have entirely neglected or abandoned the child when the parents have passed, or when the parents are not capable of caring for the child.
These court-appointed guardians don’t have to be related to the child by blood. They can be a trusted family friend or any individual that the court feels will have the child’s best interests at heart.
An appointed legal guardian may also be given custody of the child. In other cases, the guardian may also take over the financials and properties of the minor. There are limited circumstances where an adult is court-appointed as guardian ad litem.
Providing the Needs of the Minor
The adult with legal guardianship has the responsibility to provide for the child – whether it’s personal or physical needs. Typically, the parents of the minor are still legally obligated to support their child financially. However, one of the guardian’s primary responsibilities is to ensure the child is getting food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education.
The legal guardian is also allowed to consent for the child, including making important decision’s about the child’s education and health. As for custody, the guardian can maintain custodial rights until the child becomes an adult. In some cases, a judge can decide if the minor still needs a legal guardian or not.
Guardianship of the Estate
If the minor is left in possession of a substantial amount of funds or property, the court can decide to appoint a financial guardian. Also called the guardian of the estate, the responsibility of this guardian is to manage the child’s assets.
Guardian Ad Litem
The guardian ad litem represents the minor’s interests in any legal proceedings.
Guardianship of an Incapacitated Adult or an Elderly
A guardian or a conservator is appointed by the court to protect the interests of an incapacitated adult or elderly. Guardianships in these situations may deprive the incapacitated individual or elderly of some rights. This is why certain essential considerations must be taken before a guardianship appointment.
The individual has a right to notice. They will also get representation by legal counsel for the guardianship proceeding. During this proceeding, the individual can attend, present evidence, contest testimonies, and challenge witnesses.
When the court appoints a guardian, they must respect whatever the ward’s wishes are, giving them as much autonomy and self-sufficiency as possible.
Similar to the guardianship of a minor, guardianship of an incapacitated adult or an elderly may involve guardianship of the person, the estate, or both.
Guardianship of the Person
These guardianships require the appointed individual to preside over decisions concerning the health, care, and wellbeing of the incapacitated adult or elderly. Other responsibilities of the guardian include consenting to and monitoring medical care and treatment, arranging professional services, watching over living conditions, and making important life and death decisions.
Guardianship of the Estate
This scenario expects the guardian to take over the management of the ward’s estate or property. The priority of the guardian is to ensure that the ward’s assets are protected. The guardian must also get property appraisals and allocate income.
Need Legal Advice About Guardianships?
As with any legal proceedings, guardianships can get complex. Before you file a petition for one, you must ensure that you have a guardianship expert on your side.
A guardianship attorney can help you assess your specific situation. This allows them to recommend the best course of action when filing for guardianship.
If you wish to speak with us about guardianships, please don’t hesitate to contact our law firm.