While the importance of estate planning is well documented, life can undoubtedly get in the way and prevent individuals from keeping their estate planning up to date throughout their lives. However, unexpected life changes could leave loved ones in a state in which they are unable to provide themselves with necessary care at any time. When such changes take place, a guardianship is one way to ensure loved ones receive the care and supports they need.
What is a Guardianship?
A guardianship is the legal right given to an individual who assumes responsibility for aiding another individual who has become partially or fully unable to provide for themselves.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Guardian?
- Filing annual reports. The court serves as the superior guardian in a guardianship, giving them final say in all facets of the guardianship. While the court does not micromanage guardianships, guardians are required to file annual reports to keep the courts up to date with significant life events such as address changes.
- Monitor quality of life. Guardians assume the responsibility of making many day-to-day decisions when it comes to the quality of life of the ward (the represented individual). For example, malnutrition is common among the elderly, and guardians assume the responsibility of ensuring the ward receives regular healthy meals. They also assume healthcare responsibilities, including scheduling checkups as needed and keeping up with medications.
- Secure housing. While guardians are not burdened with paying housing expenses out of pocket, they do assume the responsibility of arranging housing for the ward using estate funds or government benefits.
- Maintaining independence. The purpose of a guardianship is to provide aid for those who need it the most, but it is important to still involve the ward in key choices whenever possible, and to consider their values, religious beliefs, and personal values at every decision point.
- Management of financial and legal affairs. Guardians assume the right and responsibility to manage the legal and financial matters of the ward. If necessary, this could include the selling of assets and/ or investing of assets.
Contact Mobley & Brown, LLP for Help with Your Next Steps as a Guardian
If you are considering applying for legal guardianship, we support and applaud your efforts. Our experienced attorneys can help you file the necessary paperwork and take the necessary steps to become a legal guardian. We would consider it our privilege to aid your efforts. LET US HELP YOU BECOME A LEGAL GUARDIAN- CALL (410) 385-0398.