A guardianship is a court proceeding whereby a fully or partially incapacitated person (the "ward") has some or all of their rights removed and another person (the "guardian") is appointed to handle some or all of their day-to-day affairs. Although designed to protect the ward's interests, guardianships can often be humiliating proceedings for the ward, as well as expensive and time-consuming for all involved. Guardianships are therefore a last resort when no other protective means are available, such as relying on a properly-drafted set of advance directives (durable powers of attorney, health-care surrogate designations), trusts, and other types of protective instruments.
Guardianship proceedings first require a showing that the need for the guardianship exists via a determination of incapacity. The ward may lose some or all of their civil rights in a guardianship, and they are therefore guaranteed the right to their own, independent attorney to protect their interests. Potential guardians are subjected to a criminal background check and other scrutiny by the court before being formally appointed by the judge. Once the guardianship is established, the court supervises the guardian, requiring the submission of care plans, accountings of assets, and regular reports. Any unplanned-for events usually require the guardian to return to the court for the new action to be approved by the judge. When the need exists for an immediate guardianship to be established, an emergency temporary guardianship ("ETG") proceeding may be initiated to protect the ward until a permanent guardian can be appointed.
Our attorneys have handled many guardianships and can guide you through the process from the determination of incapacity, appointment of a guardian, through submission of an annual (or more frequent) plan and other court requirements.
To learn how we can help you with a guardianship inquiry please schedule an initial consultation by calling our office at (954) 227-7320 or using our online contact form (we will follow up with you within one business day).