If you have a parent who you think is in need of guardianship, you’ll need to obtain a physician’s certificate or doctor’s letter. After an application is filed, the court will then go through its standard guardianship proceedings to determine whether you are fit to be a guardian.
What’s the procedure to establish guardianship of a child? You can establish guardianship of a child by filing papers in court. Initially, file a petition stating your interest in obtaining guardianship along with a filing fee. You’ll also want to file a letter of consent from the child’s parents.
Here are five general steps to follow to get someone declared legally incompetent:
Elderly guardianship, also known as elderly conservatorship, is a legal relationship created when a court appoints an individual to care for an elderly person who is no longer able to care for himself or herself. The appointed guardian has certain duties and responsibilities to the elderly person.
A power of attorney and a guardianship are tools that help someone act in your stead if you become incapacitated. With a power of attorney, you choose who you want to act for you. In a guardianship proceeding, the court chooses who will act as guardian.
Mental incompetence is the inability of a person to make or carry out important decisions regarding his or her affairs. An individual is defined as mentally incompetent if h/she is manifestly psychotic or otherwise of unsound mind, either consistently or sporadically, by reason of mental defect.
How Does a Family Court Determine If a Parent Is Unfit?
A doctor cannot go against a person’s wishes unless a court declares the person legally incapacitated or the person’s wishes are medically or ethically inappropriate. If doctors find that a person lacks clinical capacity, they turn to someone with the legal authority to act as substitute decision maker.
A legal guardian is a person who has been appointed by a court or otherwise has the legal authority (and the corresponding duty) to care for the personal and property interests of another person, called a ward. A parent of a child is normally not considered a guardian, though the responsibilities may be similar.
Generally speaking, a guardian is not personally responsible for the ward’s (person being taken care of) debts or bills. The guardian has a duty of care to ensure that all bills are paid on time, but if there are no assets to cover the ward’s liabilities then the guardian’s responsibility stops there.
Guardianship may need to be considered in cases where the person with a disability has limited decision making capacity and requires someone to make decisions on their behalf such as health care, medical intervention, housing or access to services. Often people may lack capacity only in making one type of decision.
In most cases, power of attorney is preferred to legal guardianship because more control is retained by the person being protected. However, if court supervision is needed, guardianship may be more appropriate. Guardianship also gives the guardian court-ordered authority that third parties, like banks, must recognize.
In general, the court may grant the guardian the power to make medical decisions, determine place of abode, social settings, and to manage property and handle financial affairs such as banking, investments, payment of expenses including household and long-term care costs, and taxes for the incapacitated person.