Guardianship is a complicated legal process and can have many applications depending on the needs of the individual. In general, there are two types of guardianship: guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. Keep reading for more information.
What Is Guardianship?
In a guardianship, the guardian is granted legal authority to make decisions regarding health, finances, and daily needs on behalf of the individual in their care. The protected person may be incapable of taking care of their own affairs or making decisions for themselves which means the court can grant a guardianship.
Guardianship of the Person
Guardianship of the person allows the guardian to be responsible for the well-being and daily care of the protected person. The guardian’s duties may include making medical decisions regarding treatment, home health, or other healthcare matters.
Additionally, guardians of the person may decide where the individual will live and assist with daily activities like housework, food preparation, etc. In cases where the guardian has children in their care, they may be responsible for choosing where they go to school.
Guardianship of the Estate
Guardianship of the estate does not involve healthcare decisions or daily care rather it involves taking care of finances and the general estate.
The requirements of a guardian of the estate include:
- Making an inventory of the estate’s assets including values and locations
- Protecting assets through legal means
- Filing annual reports on the estate detailing average income, investments, and expenditures
- Paying debts
- Managing assets conservatively by avoiding risky investments
Can a Guardian Take Care of the Person and the Estate?
There is an option for guardianship of the person and the estate. Guardians of the estate and the person often oversee the individual’s life on a larger scale. For example, the guardian may assist with finances, doctors’ appointments, medication administration, and taxes filings.
There may be two guardians – one for the person and one for the estate – or a single person may hold the position. It is important to note that this type of guardianship held by a single person may be plenary or limited.
Limited guardianships allow the guardian to manage personal and financial decisions within a certain scope. Typically, the individual under guardianship has some capability to handle their affairs but may need help managing specific tasks and responsibilities. A plenary or total guardianship involves individuals with no or quickly diminishing ability to handle their affairs.
How Long Does Guardianship Last?
Guardianship is a critical legal status that exists to help those who can no longer handle most or all their personal affairs. The duration of guardianship depends entirely on the health and circumstances of the individual under protection. In most cases, a guardian will be in charge until the person regains the ability to care for themselves or passes away.
IN cases where a guardian is put in charge of a minor, the guardianship may end when the child turns 18 or graduates high school. Guardianship of a minor can be extended, but only through special request to the court in the district where the original guardianship was determined.
Guardianship is a protective measure, but it can be complicated especially when multiple parties are involved. Whether a relative is upset over the selection of a non-relation as a guardian or if there are concerns about potential abuse, an attorney can help. Nichols Dixon PLLC has extensive experience with guardianships in Oklahoma, and our team is passionate about helping protect those who need it most.
If you need assistance with guardianship, contact Nichols Dixon PLLC. Our compassionate legal advocates are available to answer questions and provide support during this time.