If you have a family member or friend who is unable to make decisions or needs care, you may consider guardianship. A guardian is a person appointed by the court to make decisions for another person, called a ward.
Guardianship may be necessary when the ward’s age, mental impairment, or disability makes it difficult for them to act on their own. The first step in obtaining guardianship is to file a petition with the court. The petition should include information about the proposed ward, the reasons for guardianship and a proposed guardian.
All interested parties must be notified about the guardianship petition, including the potential ward, so they have an opportunity to be heard by the court. The court may require the proposed ward to have a medical exam, which can help the court understand the extent of their needs.
The court will hold a hearing and decide whether guardianship is appropriate. If so, the court will appoint a guardian.
The guardian may be responsible for making decisions about the ward’s housing, medical care, personal needs and finances. The guardian must act in the ward’s best interest and the guardian may be required to provide reports to the court to ensure they are supporting the ward’s well-being. This may include a financial accounting, so the court is informed of how the ward’s assets are being spent.
The court may require a periodic review of the guardianship to confirm that it is still necessary. If the guardian is no longer able to fulfill their duties, they can petition the court to appoint a new guardian.