What is a Guardianship?
A guardianship is a court ordered relationship in which the guardian acts
on behalf of the ward. Wards are persons who are not able to care for themselves or their property.
Who can be a Guardian?
A guardian is any adult person appointed by the
Probate Court to assume the responsibility for the care and management of the person or of the person's
property, or both. A guardianship can be appointed for either an incompetent adult or a minor.
A corporation, such as a bank, can also be appointed guardian, but only as guardian of the property and
not of the person.
Who needs a Guardian?
A guardian may be appointed for an incompetent or a minor in the following
Incompetent: Any person who is so mentally impaired as a result of mental
or physical illness or disability, or mental retardation, or
as a result of constant substance abuse, that he is incapable
of taking proper care of himself or his property or fails to
provide for his family or other persons for whom he is charged
by law to provide, or any person confined to a penal institution
within this state.
Minor: Any person under 18 years of age who has neither father nor mother
or whose parents are unsuitable to have custody and tuition of
such minor, or whose interest, in the opinion of the Court, will
Minor Settlement: Natural parents do not have an inherent right
to settle personal injury claims on behalf of a minor child.
The Probate Court must authorize approval of such settlements.
If the settlement exceeds $10,000.00, the Court will require
the appointment of a guardian of an estate.
Who Chooses the Guardian?
The Court appoints the guardian. However,
a minor over 14, or the parents by will, may suggest a guardian
for a minor. In addition, an adult, while competent, may nominate
a guardian to serve in the event of incapacity.