Guardianship

WHAT IS GUARDIANSHIP?

The purpose of a guardianship is to protect someone who is unable to protect themselves. Parents are the natural guardians of young children. But once someone becomes an adult, the parent loses control. A guardianship becomes important when a person is unable to tend to their own daily affairs or financial affairs due to health or other reasons. A guardianship might be necessary for a child with developmental disabilities who is turning 18, a young adult who suffers a debilitating stroke or other illness, or an elderly person who slips into dementia or alzheimer's disease.

The court can appoint a guardian over a person's stuff only ("guardian of the estate") or they can provide a guardian with full decision-making ability. The type of guardianship needed is based on the specific circumstances of each case.

Guardianships also become important when the parents of a child die. Usually there is some direction from the parents saying who the guardian should be. But it doesn't happen by magic—the proposed guardian has to ask the Court to appoint them as guardian.

Guardianship issues can be complicated and occasionally contentions. A lawyer can help you sort through it all.