Guardianship is the legal process by which one person assumes responsibility for the care of another. It is necessary when a parent is unfit to care for a child, and when a person is unfit to make his or her own decisions. Guardianship proceedings can be complicated, but they are common when someone gets sick or hurt.
Frank & Kraft understands the rules for guardianship and provides invaluable assistance to people who want help assuming responsibility for a loved one who needs assistance. Give us a call today at (317) 684-1100 or contact us online to learn about the personalized help our legal team offers with guardianship issues. An Indianapolis guardianship lawyer can also answer general questions including:
- Do I need guardianship?
- What are alternatives to guardianship?
- How can an Indianapolis guardianship lawyer help?
Do I Need Guardianship?
Guardianship is necessary if someone is not able to make decisions for himself or manage his own affairs because of legal incapacity. Children under 18 aren’t legal adults yet, so they need guardians. This is usually their parents. Adults with special needs, or people suffering from physical or mental illnesses, may also need a guardian if they are not able to make decisions on their own behalf, manage their own assets and affairs, and communicate their own decisions.
When guardianship becomes necessary for an adult, the person who is assigned a guardian is called the ward. The ward is generally no longer capable of taking any legal actions or expressing preferences as far as who will provide care or manage assets. This is because, by definition, he is incapacitated. A family member or friend will need to go to court and petition for guardianship.
When a guardianship petition is filed, the court will assess whether the person who will become a ward is actually incapacitated enough to be unable to make and communicate decisions or manage affairs. Once a court has declared someone a ward due to incapacity, the court will name a guardian. The guardian has a fiduciary obligation to act in the ward’s best interests and there will be regular followup required with the court.
What are Alternatives to Guardianship?
Many people want to avoid a situation where guardianship becomes necessary. Guardianship leaves the ward without any say whatsoever regarding who is going to be serving as guardian. Someone could be chosen who is not actually a person the ward would have ever wanted to be making decisions. There could also be family disputes over who should be a guardian for an incapacitated person, and the court may not even necessarily appoint the person as guardian who initially began guardianship proceedings.
Guardianship is also undesirable in many situations because it can take time for a guardian to be appointed, during which assets may not be appropriately managed and important decisions may be delayed. Family members of someone who is incapacitated can also be faced with high legal costs and with a complex legal situation they do not understand at the same time as they are trying to deal with their grief and worry over a sick loved one.
Instead of guardianship, there are alternatives- if you plan ahead. Creating a power of attorney, naming a healthcare proxy, using advanced directives, and creating living trusts are just some of the many ways that a person can plan for incapacity and make sure guardianship does not become necessary. An Indianapolis guardianship lawyer can help to make guardianship unnecessary if you get legal help before incapacity happens.
How can an Indianapolis Guardianship Lawyer Help?
Frank & Kraft understands the rules for when a guardian is necessary and what must be proved in order for someone to become a guardian. We also know the right courts to file guardianship petitions in and the legal technicalities you have to meet in order to become a guardian. As a result, we provide legal representation to someone who needs assistance in protecting their family members and friends by become their guardian. As soon as you believe someone you care about cannot manage his own affairs, give us a call.
We also provide assistance to guardians in fulfilling their legal responsibilities to their wards, and to people who want to plan ahead so guardianship can be avoided. Give our Indianapolis guardianship attorneys a call today at (317) 684-1100 or contact us online so we can get started in providing the help that you need to plan for your own incapacity or to deal with the incapacity of your loved ones.