A guardian can be appointed to handle the affairs of a minor, or a person (who becomes a “ward” by law) who is determined to be no longer capable of handling their own affairs.
The law defines “Incompetents” as adults who are so mentally impaired as a result of a mental or physical illness or disability, or mental retardation, or as a result of chronic substance abuse, that they are incapable of taking proper care of themselves, their property or their family. Persons who are confined to a penal institution within Ohio are also subject to having a guardian appointed for their assets.
Ohio law gives preference to family members but anyone can petition the court for guardianship of an individual. These are involuntary proceedings and a petition of the court must be accompanied by a “statement of expert evaluation,” typically by a physician, stating the individual is no longer capable of handling his or her own affairs. A voluntary guardianship can also be appointed; these are known as conservatorships under Ohio law.
A person can nominate their own guardian using a Last Will in Testament, a financial power of attorney or a health care power of attorney. The court will appoint your chosen guardian, unless the person is determined to be unsuitable for some reason or declines to serve. Knowing in advance who will be charged with making such decisions on your behalf is another reason proper estate planning is critical.
Once appointed, a guardian must answer to the court and has a fiduciary duty to handle a ward’s affairs in a manner that is in the best interests of the ward. Responsibilities of an appointed guardian may include:
An applicant for guardian of the estate must give the court a fiduciary bond equal to double the probable value of the ward’s assets and income, excluding any real estate. This means the applicant should have good credit and be in good financial standing.
A number of disputes can arise over guardianships, which will best be handled by a probate attorney in Cleveland with significant experience handling guardianships and conservatorships in Ohio.
The Law Offices of Daniel McGowan, LLC is a full-service law practice, with extensive experience in the areas of litigation and trial practice, elder law, and probate law and trust law. Daniel McGowan is well known for his experience with the probate process and Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio and probate courts. He has a reputation for being accessible and for his thoughtful and innovative manner he solves probate problems and other civil disputes.
Daniel McGowan represents clients in probate and estate matters throughout the Cleveland area, including Lakewood, Rocky River, Fairview Park, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, South Euclid, East Cleveland, Linndale, Brooklyn, Parma, Brook Park. Newburgh Heights, Cuyahoga Heights, Brooklyn Heights, Warrensville Heights, Maple Heights, Garfield Heights, Bratenahl and Euclid.
Call 216-242-6054 today for a free and confidential consultation.