Guardianship is a type of legal tool used by the courts to provide for individuals that cannot make important decisions on their own. The decision to pursue guardianship of a minor child or even an adult is an important one that should never be made without first consulting with a dedicated estate planning attorney.
If you are considering a guardianship petition for a loved one, it is crucial that you understand what your rights and responsibilities will be. Guardianship is a major commitment that could last for the rest of someone’s life. Let a Junction City guardianship lawyer advise you on what to expect before you pursue your petition.
While the term “guardian” is commonly used in these situations, there are two different ways the court could put a person’s interests into the hands of another party. These options are known as guardianship and conservatorship, and the responsibilities between the two positions differ.
Guardianship grants the guardian the right to make important legal decisions on the ward’s behalf. This includes the ability to consent to medical treatment and communicate with healthcare providers. Alternatively, conservators oversee financial matters for their ward. A knowledgeable Junction City could further explain the responsibilities of these positions and help an individual determine if guardianship is the right fit for their family.
There are numerous estate planning tools that could allow a person to have the final say on their future medical care, even if they can no longer make those decisions directly. Tools like powers of attorney or advanced medical directives provide individuals with the freedom to make these arrangements for themselves to ensure their wishes are carried out in the future.
When an individual becomes incapacitated and lacks the ability to make these critical decisions, it could be the right time to pursue guardianship. This is true not only for vulnerable adults that require assistance but also for minor children who lack a legal guardian. A Junction City attorney could help a family understand their guardianship options given their unique circumstances.
While there are legal requirements for becoming a guardian or conservator, these laws are fairly lax. The only technical requirement under state law is that an interested person must be an adult. The court retains substantial leeway in deciding if guardianship is necessary and, if so, whether the applicant is right for the job. A knowledgeable attorney in the area could help a potential guardian through the application process.
This process begins with filing a petition with the circuit court in the county where the potential ward lives. The court will generally schedule a hearing to determine whether guardianship is necessary and if the person seeking guardianship is appropriate for the role. When it comes to minors over the age of 14, the court will give them a say in who serves as their guardian.
Serving as a guardian is a tremendous responsibility. If you are considering moving forward with the process, it is important that you do so with the help of experienced legal counsel.
A Junction City guardianship lawyer could walk you through the application process and ensure that you have the support and guidance you need. Call today to schedule a consultation.