As human beings, one of the most important things we can do is vow to look out for one another. While this is true in a general sense, there are some cases in which you will only be legally allowed to make caring decisions for someone in need if you become their legal guardian.
Maybe you have an aging relative who is unable to care for themselves as their mind declines. Maybe you want to look after a child who needs a stable environment. Either way, I’ll help guide you through the legal process so your loved one can get the care they need. Let’s start by exploring some basic information about guardianship.
Guardianship vs Power of Attorney
Guardianship isn’t the only legal tool that can help someone who can’t care for themselves. Power of attorney can also allow someone to make decisions on another’s behalf. However, the two terms are distinct.
A power of attorney is a legal document commonly included as part of the estate planning process. It allows someone to act in another’s place for financial decisions in the event they can’t act on their own. Power of attorney can work for one specific purpose or for full power over affairs.
Rather than a legal document, guardianship is an ongoing relationship between a guardian and another person. A guardian is also allowed to make financial, legal, and health-related decisions on behalf of that other person, but it is a much more open-ended relationship.
Conservatorship vs Guardianship
Conservatorship and guardianship also resemble one another, but they too are distinct. Unlike a guardian, a conservator’s abilities are usually limited to financial matters like paying bills and handling investments.
Conservatorship also resembles power of attorney. The main difference between a conservator and someone with power of attorney is that power of attorney is voluntary. While someone with power of attorney can rescind their abilities at any time, a conservatorship can only be rescinded by a court order.
Proving Need for Guardianship
Establishing guardianship isn’t always a simple process. It’s essential that a need for that guardianship is established and proved. Sometimes this can be straightforward, especially if nobody is disputing the relationship. Other times, it can be a headache.
In the case of an older person experiencing cognitive decline, there often isn’t a black-and-white moment where they suddenly are unable to care for themselves. Conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia are progressive and not always linear. Someone may seem normal at times and impaired in others. Guardianship, however, is in effect at all times.
In the case of guardianship for a child, establishing need is simpler. However, establishing that you specifically are needed to be a child’s guardian may not be. You’ll be required to go to a hearing and demonstrate to a judge why you should be that child’s guardian. Sometimes you aren’t the only person who wants that relationship. Other times, you may not have the know-how to demonstrate the reasons why you should be chosen.
How Hard is it to Terminate Guardianship?
In some situations, guardianship can end. A person with a guardian can request for guardianship to be terminated if their guardian isn’t fulfilling their duties. A third party can also make this request if they make the same conclusion. In other cases, a guardian can request termination if they are unable or unwilling to provide guardianship services.
Guardianship can only be terminated in court. Whoever wishes to terminate the agreement must submit a request for removal. A hearing will need to be scheduled where you’ll need to prove the termination is called for. The process can be complex, and a knowledgeable lawyer can make it go much smoother.
Let Me Guide You through the Guardianship Process
Whether you want to establish your guardianship for a minor, a person with a disability, or a loved one in cognitive decline, I will ensure the smoothest, simplest process possible. I can also help you terminate a guardianship that no longer is needed.
Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (405) 514-5002 for your consultation today.