What are the responsibilities of a guardian?
The responsibilities of a guardian will differ depending on the type of guardianship.
A guardian of the person will need to go through court-ordered training on a regular basis. They will also need to report back to the court annually about their interactions with the ward, and about how the ward is doing. This is helpful in determining if a guardianship is still necessary.
A guardian of the estate has other responsibilities. They are responsible for managing the ward's assets and finances. They will need to report to the court about all transactions that have been made on the ward's estate each year.
Alternatives to Guardianship
If possible, it's best to put plans in place before incapacity happens and avoid the need for guardianship. There are several alternatives to guardianship you can use that are less restrictive. The following are just a few examples.
- A living trust can be constructed and changed during your lifetime. This trust can be used to financially provide for loved ones with special needs.
- A healthcare power of attorney allows someone to make medical decisions on your behalf when you are unable to make them yourself.
- A conservatorship, in Ohio, is essentially a voluntary guardianship. It gives the conservator the power to make decisions on the other person's behalf.
What are the rights of a potential ward?
The court recognizes that guardianships can be very restrictive. Because of this, one of the first steps in obtaining a guardianship is sending a court representative to the prospective ward. This person is called a Probate Court Investigator. They will perform an assessment and notify the prospective ward of their rights. These rights include, but are not limited to:
- A right to attorney representation
- A right to be present at the hearing for guardianship
- A right to prove that there is a less restrictive option available
- A right to contest the application for guardianship
Is guardianship permanent?
A guardianship does not have to be permanent. A guardianship ends when the ward has restored competency, a less restrictive alternative is found, or when the ward passes away.
When do I need to see an attorney?
Here at DuPont & Blumenstiel, we've seen many situations where people try to start guardianships themselves, and things don't go as planned. On the surface, it may seem easy to just file the paperwork yourself. But the deeper you get into it, the more confusing it becomes. Oftentimes, hiring an attorney at the start is much cheaper than trying to bring one in after mistakes have already been made.
Call 614-389-9711 to schedule a consultation.