I help people who need to obtain, modify or terminate an uncontested guardianship for an incompetent adult. When someone is no longer able to handle their own affairs, whether because of dementia, injury or mental illness, a guardianship can help their care provider ensure they get assistance with their personal care or financial matters.
Anyone can file a petition to appoint a guardian of an incompetent person. In some cases, the Department of Social Services might file the petition and seek a family member to serve as guardian; the public guardian might also be appointed. The Court appoints a guardian ad litem to represent the best interests of the incompetent person, and a hearing is set. At the hearing, the petitioner must present evidence (testimony from a doctor or other care provider or other evidence that proves the incompetent person cannot manage his or her own affairs). If sufficient evidence is presented, the court will appoint a guardian. A guardian of the person makes decisions about the personal care of the incompetent person (the ward). A guardian of the estate manages the ward’s financial and legal affairs. A general guardian makes both personal and financial decisions.
The guardian of the estate and the general guardian must file regular accounting with the court to demonstrate how the ward’s money has been spent. Serious civil and criminal penalties apply to a guardian who misappropriates a ward’s resources.