When you're creating an estate plan, one thing you need to learn about is guardianship and conservatorships. Guardianship is also known as conservatorship in some states, and it refers to the court appointing someone to take care of the legal rights of a mentally incapacitated person. This person becomes known as the "ward" of the conservator or guardian.
A durable power of attorney, known as a POA, is one of the most, if not the most, important documents in your estate plan. This document assigns a person as the representative who will act on your behalf if you are not able to do so. They may manage your business and financial transactions on your behalf.
When many people hear the term "guardian" being used, they often think about a child who maybe isn't able to reside with their own biological parents. In those cases, a third party is appointed by a family court judge to take care of them. This isn't the only type of guardianship that exists.
People who are incapacitated because of a disability or are minors may need a guardian to manage their financial affairs and make important decisions about their care. A person in need of a guardianship is known as a ward. In Ohio, parents may nominate a guardian for their children for the future in case they die before the child reaches adulthood by putting a signed nomination in writing witnessed by two disinterested parties.
Ohio residents often avoid thinking about what could happen if they become physically or mentally vulnerable in old age. If a person has not set up a durable power of attorney and medical power of attorney during healthy times, then an abusive agent might step in and become a guardian or conservator who uses an elder's finances for personal gain.
Because of old age, a disease, a serious accident or injury, many people, old and young alike, can become incapable of taking care of themselves and their financial affairs. In these circumstances, it is necessary for another person to handle their personal affairs, which includes making all their important health care decisions for them.
The Ohio guardianswhip rules have been changed by the Supreme Court of Ohio. These rules are effective as of June 1, 2015. Below contains some highlights of the new Rules.
While many people understand the necessity of estate planning, many also focus solely on what will happen when they die rather than making provisions for possible disability. The type of planning concerning making decisions for someone who is incapable of handling his or her own affairs is called "incompetency planning," and it should be an integral part of any estate plan.
In Ohio, the type of guardianship depends on the situation. With a limited guardian, the probate court limits either the purpose or length of time, of the guardian's powers. In cases where a mentally capable person requests that the court appoint somebody to exercise specific authorities due to physical incapacitation, the court may appoint the requested person as the incapacitated person's conservator. These are very similar, and the person retains any authorities that the court did not appoint to the guardian or conservator.