Guardianship is a legal relationship when a person or agency is appointed by the Court to make decisions for and to act on behalf of another person, called the Ward. A Guardian is appointed when a Court determines a person is not capable of making decisions on their own or managing their own affairs. A Guardian’s primary role is to advocate for the Ward, make decisions on their behalf, and protect their rights and interests.
The process of becoming a Guardian begins with the filing of a petition with the Clerk of Superior Court. The Petition must be filed in the County where the Petitioner or Ward lives. When an agency wishes to become a Guardian, the petition must be filed in the County where the agency’s office is located. Once the petition is filed and the proposed Ward has been notified, the Clerk of Superior Court appoints a Guardian ad Litem to represents the interests of the proposed Ward. During the required hearing the Clerk of Superior Court determines the competence of the proposed Ward and appoints a Guardian. A person may need a Guardian appointed in cases such as mentally illness, physical disability, developmental disability or senility.
The different types of Guardianships are classified according to the powers, duties and tasks to be undertaken. There is a Guardian of the Person, a Guardian of the Estate and a General Guardian. Each type of guardian is designed to meet specific needs of the Ward. Guardians are required to take an oath to uphold their duties to the Ward. A Guardian of the Estate and General Guardian are required to post a bond when they are sworn as a Guardian.
A Guardian’s duties vary according to the type of Guardianship. A Guardian of the Person is responsible for the living, care, custody and medical needs of the Ward. The Guardian of the Estate is responsible for the financial aspects of the Ward’s care. This may include but is not limited being named a Representative Payee for government benefits such as SSI or SSDI. An individual named as a General Guardian will undertake duties of the Guardian of the Estate and the Guardian of the Person. A yearly financial accounting is required to be filed by either the Guardian of the Estate or the General Guardian with the Office of the Clerk of Superior Court. For more information on Guardianship, please contact the Law Office of Stephen Robertson. Our skilled and experienced Attorneys will guide you through the process.