A legal guardian is an individual with the legal power to make decisions and care for an incapacitated adult or minor child. Studies show that approximately 1.5 million adults live under the guardianship of a family member or friend. Taking the necessary steps to become a legal guardian protects you from getting into trouble with the authorities in the future. Here is what you should know before applying to become a guardian.
1. Determine Whether You want to Become a Guardian
Guardians are obligated by the law to take care of their dependent’s finances and well-being. They should submit regular reports on their dependents to the court, making it tedious and time-consuming. You can only be granted guardianship if you have demonstrated your ability to accept and execute the responsibility. You don’t have to be a relative of your dependent.
2. Fill Your Forms
You can find many of the required documents online. Search for the judicial branch website in your state. Seek assistance from a courthouse clerk if you can’t get the necessary forms online. These forms include:
• Notice of hearing
• Guardianship petition
• A document listing the guardian’s core duties
Drop completed forms at the courthouse clerk’s office and pay the filing fee. You will then get a hearing date.
3. Preparing for Hearing
Carry all the necessary documents to the hearing and include proof of service showing that you notified all the interested parties. Organize your documents to ensure you can reach them fast and present them in court when necessary. You must prove that the person requires guardianship. Describe their bailey routine and mention the services they require and highlight why they can’t manage their property or needs.
4. Attend the Hearing
Answer the judge’s questions regarding your interest in guardianship. Explain how you will take care of the dependent, meet their financial needs, and the support system you have in place to help you. Remember, interested parties may challenge your guardianship during the hearing. The judge will address rebuttals and decide whether you are fit to become the guardian after the hearing. If the judge declines your petition, you can still file an appeal or start the process afresh.
Understanding guardianship laws can be difficult, so you should work with a lawyer to ensure you do everything right. Contact us today to get started.