Guardianships may be set up for the care of children, elderly or those with special needs. In addition, they may be beneficial for loved ones with a disease, injury or disability. Guardianships can be part of an estate plan or separate and estate planners and others considering a guardianship should know how to use them.
The benefits of a guardianship
A guardianship can be set up to designate a trusted individual to act a guardian for a child, as one example, or an older loved one as another example. The guardian will be able to make important legal and personal decisions for the subject of the guardianship who is referred to as the ward. Examples can include paying bills for the ward, managing the ward’s finances, helping the ward make healthcare decisions and helping sign the ward up for community or public services.
When a guardian is appointed through the court process the party seeking to establish the guardianship should file an application with the court requesting the guardianship be established. A hearing before a judge will then help determine if the judge will appoint a guardian after determining one is needed. A guardian can also be named in a will as part of an estate plan for minor children which is another way that a guardianship may be established.
A guardianship can be undone by the court but typically becomes permanent once established. Because the process of setting up a guardianship can be emotional in some respects, anyone seeking to establish a guardianship should be familiar with the potential benefits and how to get one started when needed.