Guardianship may be necessary for either minor children or adults. A court appointed guardian has the authority to make decisions that affect the person of the incapacitated person (the ward).
Adults. If an adult becomes incapacitated, and is unable to make decisions about their person such as where they will live and what health care they should receive, responsible persons in their life can go to court and petition for a guardianship. Adults may need a guardianship because of an injury or illness, or as a result of dementia that has left them unable to manage their own personal affairs. A guardianship is needed when a person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning his/her person.
Many times disabled adults need a guardian. The guardianship can be tailored to permit the protected person to make whatever decisions they are capable of making.
Minor Children. Guardians for minors are appointed if both parents are deceased or unable or unfit to care for the children for any reason. A guardian can be appointed with consent of the parents. If the parents are deceased, then the guardians would be permanent, and the court would look to the wishes of the parent expressed in their Will, for example. The guardianship of a minor terminates when the child reaches age eighteen (18), or when the parent(s) withdraws their consent before the child reaches age eighteen (18).
Petitioning for Guardianship. A petition for guardianship (sometimes in conjunction with a petition for conservatorship) is filed by the proposed guardian with the court, along with various affidavits. In the case of an adult, the court appoints an attorney for the proposed ward, a physician to give a report to the court about the proposed ward, and an investigator to also make a report to the court. The court hears recommendations from all three of these persons. The proposed ward can contest the proceeding if they wish. If the reports recommend a guardianship, it is likely that the guardianship will be ordered by the court.
Once it is determined that a guardian is needed, letters of guardianship are issued by the court which give the guardian authority to act on behalf of the ward.
Annual Reports. The guardian must file a detailed annual report with the court on court-approved forms. The guardian needs to attach medical reports from the physician of the protected person each year. I am experienced in creating new guardianships and assisting clients with the annual reports, if needed.