Establishing guardianship is a very important area of law. While many consider guardians to be stand-in parents for orphaned children, they can also act on behalf of mentally incompetent adults, and individuals with disabilities who cannot manage on their own. They may also be appointed to care for the person or their property, and have a solemn duty to their ward.
Guardianship issues can be emotionally fraught and legally complex. James Bart Leonardi, LLC can help guardians, wards and other interested parties navigate these sometimes murky waters.
Appointing a guardian
Guardians may be appointed in several ways:
When creating an estate plan, you may nominate one or more guardians for your minor children. If both parents pass away before the children reach the age of majority, the court will appoint that person as their guardian, so long as they are still suitable for the job.
Guardians can also be named in your financial and health care power of attorney directives. They will act on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to manage your estate and/or health decisions.
Additionally, a guardian may be appointed on an adult’s behalf, even if the ward doesn’t believe they’re legally incompetent.
Guardians of the estate and person
The two most common guardianships have vastly different responsibilities.
Guardians of the estate, manage the ward’s financial affairs. This could involve overseeing assets for minor children until they reach the age of 18, or handling an incapacitated adult’s taxes, bills and other financial obligations. They share much the same authority as financial powers of attorney—but the court has discretion to limit that authority as they see fit.
Guardians of the person, make personal decisions on behalf of the ward, such as health care, shelter and educational decisions. In the case of minor children, they are the adults appointed to care for the children until the age of majority.
Other guardianship types may sometimes be more suitable for the ward’s needs. Bart Leonardi can advise you as to which guardianship is right for your unique situation.
We can help settle your guardianship disputes
James Bart Leonardi, LLC can help you file for guardianship in the State of Ohio, or navigate any reporting and accounting requirements for which you are responsible.