Some people may be too young, mentally unfit, or physically unwell to be able to make financial or legal decisions. They may not be able to fully understand the ramifications of their decisions and what factors are really at play, if they’re well enough to make the decision at all. When this is the case, a court order can establish a guardianship.
This order by the court grants to the guardian the authority to act on behalf of the person who needs the help. This fiduciary relationship, meaning the guardian is required to act in the best interests of their ward, is supervised by the court to make sure that the guardian is fulfilling his/her duty.
Any competent person may nominate a guardian for an incapacitated person, while a minor’s best interests are what the court considers in an appointment for them. Some states allow minors of a certain age to nominate their own chosen guardian.
The first step in applying for guardianship is to file a petition in the state court in which the ward resides. The petition explains the situation and the relationship of the potential guardian to the ward. Medical documentation is generally required for physical or mental issues while, for minors, information about their parental situation is usually required.
Documents are then served, giving the ward and his or her relatives the chance to object to the potential guardianship. The court will order the guardianship if it finds sufficient evidence to deem it necessary because the ward lacks the capacity, whether due to age or incapacity, to make responsible decisions. Subsequent hearings may result in the court finding the guardianship no longer necessary or when the minor turns 18.
The guardian, after appointed, restricts the ward’s ability to contract and make decisions for themselves. Living arrangements and education, for example, may be determined by the guardian. The guardian is in some cases also responsible for managing income or real estate of the ward.
If a guardianship is contested, the court may appoint a neutral third party to make recommendations. This guardian ad litem determines whether the guardianship itself is necessary and whether the proposed guardian is fit for the role. Learn more about how a court appointed guardianship is established.
Lastly, when you’re appointed as a guardian, the court may require you to purchase a guardianship surety bond to protect the interest and affairs of the ward in accordance with the applicable state law. The requirements of the bond may vary from state to state.
So where can you easily purchase guardianship surety bonds?
Colonial offers the direct and digital way to obtain guardianship surety bonds. We are the insurance company — which means no agent, no broker, and no middleman. We make it easy to obtain your court bond instantly. The steps are easy — get a quote online, fill out your information, satisfy underwriting requirements, and enter your payment method. Print or e-file your bond from your office. It’s that simple!