A Guardian is a person appointed by the Court to make decisions concerning a minor or an incapacitated person's physical needs (referred to as the ward). An incapacitated person is someone who is physically and/or mentally unable to care for himself/herself.  Once the petition for appointment of a Guardian is filed for an adult, a physician must examine the ward and render a report of his/her findings. In addition, the Court will appoint a Court Representative and a Guardian ad litem. In the case of a minor the Court will only appoint a Guardian ad litem.


WHAT IS A GUARDIAN?
The parent of a minor or someone who has been appointed by the court to be responsible for the personal care of an individual.

WHAT IS A WARD?
Legal name for a person for whom a guardian has been appointed.

WHO CAN BE A GUARDIAN FOR AN ADULT?
Any qualified person may be appointed. However, the law establishes the following priorities:

  1. person named in a durable power of attorney
  2. spouse or spouse's nominee
  3. adult child parent or parent's nominee
  4. relative with whom person has lived the prior 6 months
  5. nominee of caretaker of person

WHO CAN BE GUARDIAN FOR A CHILD?
The court may appoint any person who will be in the best interest of the minor. However, if the minor is 14 years old or older, the minor's nominee must be appointed unless the appointment is contrary to the minor's best interest.

Also, a parental nomination has priority.

CAN A PARENT APPOINT A GUARDIAN?
Yes, in a Will a parent may appoint a guardian for a minor child of for an unmarried incapacitated child.

CAN A SPOUSE APPOINT A GUARDIAN?
Yes, in a Will a person may appoint a guardian for his or her incapacitated spouse.

WHAT ARE THE POWERS OF A GUARDIAN?

  • must assume responsibilities of a parent regarding support, care and education
  • must become personally acquainted with ward
  • must take reasonable care of ward's personal effects
  • must apply available money for current needs or health, support, education and maintenance
  • must conserve excess money
  • must report the condition of the ward to the court
  • may receive limited funds for support of ward
  • may take custody of ward and establish a home
  • may compel payment of support
  • may consent to medical care
  • may consent to marriage or adoption
  • may delegate certain responsibilities to the ward for the decision making

[court may limit powers of guardianship]

WHEN DOES A GUARDIANSHIP END?

  • upon death of ward
  • upon resignation of the guardian
  • upon adoption of the minor
  • upon marriage of the minor
  • upon minor becoming an adult
  • when ward's incapacity is terminated