If you are considering guardianship for an aging relative or a minor and you would like to be said guardian, there are several steps you will have to take. It is not an easy process, therefore it’s important that you know what to expect so that you can effectively plan ahead.
Have a conversation with the ward.
It is important to remember that there are two people involved in this decision: the future guardian and the future ward. The ward is the person seeking care, and the guardian is the person responsible for providing care. If the future ward is an adult who is still in control of his or her mental faculties, he or she should be the one to designate a guardian. In the case of a minor who is over fourteen years old, the ward has the right to nominate a guardian, if it hasn’t already been specified in the parents’ will.
It is also important that you know the full extent of the guardianship. It is not a position to take lightly, as you will have a significant amount of responsibility, depending on the type of guardianship that is needed: guardianship of the estate or guardianship of the person. Just as the ward’s wishes should be considered, so should yours.
Complete background checks.
In order to become a guardian, you will have to complete and pass a background check. Once you have successfully done so, your home will have to be approved by a court personnel. This means that someone will inspect your home to ensure that it is a safe place of residence for the ward. After both of these checks have been completed, you will have to file an official application with the courts. This application must be on court-approved forms and must be returned to the probate court in the ward’s current county of residence. Once you file this application, you have virtually agreed to any and all responsibilities that may be assigned to you as a part of guardianship. A probate court investigator will then visit the ward to give a notice of the hearing and to assess the ward’s needs.
Once you have successfully become a guardian, there are several duties that you are expected to carry out, such as annually filing a report of all of the ward’s expenses and assets. Keep in mind that any decision made under a guardianship is heavily supervised by the courts.