Understanding A Guardianship Case
Guardianship is generally awarded in one of 3 situations. Most guardianship cases involve a
minor, a developmentally disabled adult, or an incapacitated senior.
Guardianship of Minors
There are a few scenarios in which a guardian might need to be appointed for a minor, which
- The death of both parents
- Abandonment of parental responsibilities
- Cases of neglect or abuse where it is unsafe for a child to remain in his or her family
If a minor child’s parents die or become legally incapacitated due to illness or injury, then a
guardian will need to be appointed to care for the child until he or she reaches the age of
majority. In this tragic scenario, the best-case circumstance is that the parents have designated
a guardian in their estate plan. As long as the estate plan is legally enforceable, the parents’
wishes will be respected, unless their chosen guardian declines to serve in the role. If no
guardian has been designated, then one will need to be appointed through the probate process.
The probate process is also used to appoint a guardian for a minor child in cases where the
parents are living but are otherwise unavailable or unfit to raise the child. As you might expect,
these guardianship proceedings are often full of emotion, especially in cases where the parents
wish to retain custody of their children. Laura J. Wyatt, P.C. is experienced in representing all
family members during this process and can help you understand what you need to do to
secure the best outcome for the children involved.
What Are a Guardian’s Rights & Responsibilities in Indiana?
In Indiana, a guardian has broad authority and responsibility to make decisions on the ward’s
behalf unless the guardian’s authority and responsibility have been expressly limited by the
court during the guardianship proceedings.
A guardian’s authority includes:
- Entering into contracts
- Consenting to medical care
- Deciding where the ward should live
- Managing the ward’s finances
Every guardianship case should be handled with care, as the outcome impacts both prospective
guardians and wards. All 3 types of guardianship stem from the acknowledgment that the
senior, minor, or adult in need of a guardian cannot properly care for themselves.
The welll-being and financial stability are 2 of the main issues considered when appointing a
legal guardian. Those seeking guardianship rights must demonstrate their ability to offer a high
quality of life for the ward while