Serving As A Guardian
Guardianship is a legal process, utilized when a person can no longer make or communicate safe or sound decisions about his/her person and/or property or has become susceptible to fraud or undue influence.*
Establishing a guardianship may remove considerable rights from an individual, so it should only be considered after alternatives to guardianship have proven ineffective or are unavailable. The goal of a guardianship is always to provide the least restrictive environment while fulfilling the wishes and goals of the person under guardianship.
A professional guardian does not take the place of a family member. A professional guardian will coordinate and monitor professional services needed by the person under guardianship, such as selecting a caretaker, in-home care, and other services.
*Information provided from the National Guardianship Association
- A guardian works to maximize independence in the least restrictive manner possible and keeps the court informed of any residential changes.
- Medical Treatment
- A guardian works with a person’s medical team to provide appropriate consent for any medical treatment and has the authority to release medical information as may be necessary to insure the best treatment options.
- End-of-life Decisions
- The guardian assists with making end-of-life decisions based on the wishes of the person under guardianship to the best of the guardian’s understanding. This may include arranging final burial, writing an obituary, and disbursement of possessions to family members.
Funds that belong to the person under guardianship remain the property of that person, and do not become property of the guardian. All funds are accounted for and kept only for the person under guardianship. The guardian acts on behalf of the person under guardianship only to the extent of the person’s assets. For each person that a professional guardian serves, the guardian stands ready to give an accurate accounting of those funds to the court. The professional guardian is an advocate and acts on behalf of the person under guardianship only to the extent of the court order. *
A financial guardian is assigned the following responsibilities:
- Marshall and protect assets.
- Obtain appraisals of property.
- Protect property and assets from loss.
- Receive income for the estate.
- Make appropriate disbursements.
- Obtain court approval prior to selling any asset.
- Report to the court or estate status.
- A guardian is required to keep the court informed of the status of the person under guardianship, including any residential changes as well as providing financial accountings annually or more often as necessary.