Two Types of Guardianship Family Lawyers Can Help With
Updated: Mar 15
We define guardianship as having legal responsibility for someone who is unable to be their own legal guardian. Most people picture displaced children whose parents have suddenly passed away whenever the subject of guardianship comes up. However, the term doesn't refer exclusively to minors. Adults may need guardianship, too, in the following situations:
They suffer from an incapacitating mental illness, such as schizophrenia or dementia.
They're an elderly adult who is no longer physically healthy enough to care for themselves.
A guardianship lawyer is the best individual to help with the legalities of establishing guardianship, and they can represent you in court and advocate on your behalf as you seek to become the legal guardian of a minor child or of a disabled or incapacitated adult.
Guardianship of a Minor
As the guardian of a minor child, you must meet the qualifications to care for them. This may mean meeting certain financial requirements, having a suitable home environment for the child to grow up in, and being of sound mind and generally good health. Your guardianship lawyer can help you find out what's required of you according to the state in which you live. They will also represent you at meetings between yourself, the child in question, the current guardian, and the judge and other lawyers involved in the case. They can help you prove you're of good moral character and will guide you through the paperwork and procedures needed to pursue guardianship. If you're considering assuming guardianship of a child who is not your own, you should thoroughly understand what's required of you, which could include:
Providing a home for the child.
Feeding and clothing them.
Paying for necessities such as school and/or college.
Providing love and nurture.
Encouraging them and providing moral guidance.
Acting always in their best interest.
Enrolling them in school
Guardianship of a Compromised Adult
To become the guardian of an elderly or compromised adult, you may first have to prove the person is unable to act as their own guardian. You may have to provide witnesses and present evidence to attest to this fact. Your guardianship lawyer will help you navigate the steps needed to become the guardian of their person, estate, or both. Regardless of which type of guardianship you're given, you must act in the best interest of your ward. This includes caring for their physical and emotional needs and may include distributing their income and protecting their financial assets as well.
There's a lot involved with becoming the legal guardian of a friend or loved one, and this title holds much responsibility. If you're certain you're the right person for the job, contact a guardianship lawyer right away to help you navigate the process much more easily. Baystate Law is always happy to assist you.