When an elderly loved one can’t make sound decisions, legal guardianship may be a helpful option. Understand the process of appointing a guardian and the role of the guardian.
In An Ideal World
It would be a big stress reliever if all of our friends and loved ones would put their “affairs in order” before they become unable to, wouldn’t it? Of course that is so often much easier said than done, as life twists and turns, throwing us all unexpected challenges and complications. Then too, if elderly relations slip into dementia, it can be very difficult to actively take over for them since doing so requires painful acceptance of a difficult reality.
Nonetheless, note to all: set a goal to get the family conversations going! Meanwhile, if you do find yourself worried about the welfare of an elderly relation who can no longer make decisions, get on the path to guardianship. Understand that most courts consider the appointment of a guardian as a last resort—because it takes away the legal rights of the individual involved (aka the ward).
The Legal Process for Appointing Guardians Explained
State laws do vary somewhat, but LegalZoom lays out this basic process for the appointment of a legal guardian:
- Petition or application to the court, usually the probate court, for the appointment of a guardian
- Notice sent to the elderly person and their relatives, to inform them that an application has been made
- Hearing to determine whether the elderly person is unable to make crucial decisions for themselves, and also to determine whether the person applying to be appointed guardian is suitable for the role
Frequently, in the process of appointing a guardian, courts request a guardianship bond. This is a type of fiduciary bond—that in some regions or circumstances can also be referred to as a conservator or personal representative bond. Like all fiduciary bonds, a guardianship bond serves as a guarantee that the guardian will act in accordance with applicable laws and standards. You can learn more about the fiduciary duties as a guardian here.
As a leading national direct provider of all types of fiduciary bonds, Colonial Surety Company makes it easy for guardians in every state to obtain their required bonds. At Colonial, the steps to obtaining guardianship bonds are easy: get a quote online; fill out your information; and enter the payment method. Instantly print or e-file the bond right from your home or office—even while at court. It’s that simple.
Understanding The Decisions A Guardian Makes
When a court appoints a guardian, it may detail particular decision-making limits in a court order. For example, the court may require a guardian to obtain specific approval before deciding to move the ward to an assisted living facility. Typically, the duties of a legally appointed guardian may include:
Determining where the elderly person will live
- Making decisions about the person’s healthcare
- Implementing a financial budget to take care of daily expenses
- Arranging for in-home care or meal-delivery services
Headed To Probate Court?
Although state laws differ, If you are headed to court on family and estate matters anywhere across the country, Colonial Surety Company can help you quickly, easily and affordably secure fiduciary bonds the court may require, At Colonial, you can instantly obtain guardian, conservator, personal representative, administrator and estate bonds—and e-file them from anywhere, even the courthouse!
Lawyers: sign up for Colonial’s free Attorney Partnership Account®. This complimentary business service provides attorneys with user-friendly client management dashboards to coordinate, view, complete and e-file the court and fiduciary bonds clients need. Start saving yourself time—and your clients money, right here: Partnership Account for Attorneys.
Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company, U.S. Treasury listed, and licensed for business across the USA.