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.
Third parties may be allowed to establish a conservatorship or guardianship in order to be able to advocate for a mentally incapacitated individual.
In order to qualify to be appointed as a guardian to a mentally incapacitated person, or a “ward,” an individual petitioning to take on that role must take certain steps.
First, the individual who wants become the guardian must file a petition with the judge raising concerns about their prospective ward’s ability to make sound decisions on their own. Provided that the justification provided seems plausible, a judge will order that a committee including nurses, physicians or mental health counselors evaluate the allegedly incapacitated individual.
The court will order that the ward also be appointed their own attorney to represent his or her interests.
Once each member of the committee has had a chance to meet with the alleged incapacitated individual, they’ll each be asked to provide the court with a written report detailing their findings.
The next step in the guardianship process involves the attorney meeting with their ward to go over the different committee members’ findings. They’re then responsible for drafting a report for the judge letting them know what they’ve been told and whether they feel that they understood why a guardianship is being requested.
After reading all of the aforementioned reports, a judge will schedule a hearing in which they will decide whether the appointment of a guardian is indeed necessary.
One important factor to take into account about guardians is that they’re not just appointed to people with long-standing mental health concerns or the elderly. Instead, a guardianship may be requested those who have suffered a traumatic brain injury or have experienced decreased mental acuity due to a health condition.
A Beachwood guardianshps & conservatorships attorney can advise you whether your loved one may benefit form having someone else manage their personal affairs.