What is a Guardianship and Why Does It Matter?

A guardian is a person who is legally responsible for another individual who is unable to manage his or her own affairs. The guardian is appointed by a judge and is able to make a variety of important decisions on behalf of the individual. They are called on to protect the individual and their property. Depending upon the specific terms of the agreement, as well as a state’s rules overseeing this designation, a guardian might be able to make legal, financial, and health care decisions on behalf of the individual. You might be asked to handle the following if you are appointed as a guardian.

  • Oversee and make investments
  • Take care of day-to-day expenses
  • Oversee real estate transactions
  • Handle Social Security benefits
  • Obtain and oversee Medicaid benefits
  • Speak on loved one’s behalf regarding medical concerns
  • Handle insurance claims
  • Oversee distribution of pension benefits

Who Needs a Guardian?

The standards for determining the need for a guardian can vary from state to state. In general, it will be ordered if the individual is unable to make decisions on their own behalf. It must be proven that they are unable to act in their own best interest. A guardian is appointed in the absence of a power of attorney (this includes financial and medical powers of attorney).

Who can be a Guardian?

While the best case scenario is to appoint a family member in the role of guardian, the
State may select a friend, neighbor, or even a public or private agency to take
on this role. This further speaks to the importance of making these important
decisions in advance whenever possible.

Legal Proceedings

A guardianship can be requested by any party who believes it is in the individual’s best interest. This party will likely hire an attorney to file the petition. After this happens, a hearing will be held to determine what is in the best interest of the individual.

If you are looking for more information about guardianship proceedings, contact the trusted professionals at Skinner & Associates. They have six offices to serve clients in Reynoldsburg and throughout central Ohio.What is Guardianship and Why Does it Matter