Guardianship is a court process where one person, also known as the Guardian, is appointed to manage the financial, personal, and medical decisions of someone else, the Ward, who has been rendered incapable to care for themselves, or otherwise incompetent due to physical or mental disability or illness. There are three major types of guardianships, which include:
GUARDIANSHIP OF THE ESTATE
Guardianship of the Estate allows a Guardian to take inventory of their Ward’s assets, i.e., the things they own. A person acting as the Guardian of an estate may also obtain correct property values, safeguard a property and assets from loss, manage income and payments, and with proper court approval sell a major asset and file tax returns.
GUARDIANSHIP OF A PERSON
Guardianship of a person grants the Guardian authority to oversee personal and health care matters in the stead of their Ward. The Guardian is responsible for providing consent for, as well as supervising medical and non-medical treatments, in addition to making end-of-life decisions, deciding where the Ward lives, maintaining their Ward's residence, meeting the Ward’s social needs, and ensuring that their Ward can enjoy their life comfortably, and with as much independence as is possible.
GUARDIANSHIP OF A MINOR
Guardianships can also be established to protect the legal rights of a minor when a parent or parents of the minor are gone, or otherwise unable to act on behalf of their child. Guardianship should be considered if a minor's current guardian(s) cannot provide shelter, has no dependable income, is suffering from a serious illness, or is incarcerated. Unlike an adoption, under a guardianship parents may still remain financially responsible for their child and do not necessarily forfeit their parental rights.