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Law Offices of Amy R. Turos.

Commonly Answered Questions About Guardianships

  • Published: March 9, 2021

What is a Guardianship?

A Guardian is normally a person appointed by the probate court who is legally responsible to look after a person, an estate, or a person and their estate. A loved one can be a guardian over an adult or minor child.

While the court has to appoint the guardian, you can nominate one to act on your behalf through your Power of Attorney Forms.

For someone to need a Guardian, it has to be proved by the court that they are incompetent. An incompetent person must be mentally impaired to the point that they can no longer take legitimate care of themselves and their property; cannot longer take proper care of their family or any other people they are legally required to care for; or is someone living in a correctional facility in Ohio. This proof must be exhibited at a formal hearing.

That incapacitated person who requires guardianship is called a ward. Wards might have poor physical health or undergo chronic substance abuse which affects their mental capacity, in turn making them poor decision makers.

How is Guardianship different from Power of Attorney?

The Power of Attorney is a non-public way to choose the person who will carry out your wishes if you can longer speak or act for yourself. Powers of Attorney are not court-ordered, and not all institutions will honor that power.

If this were to happen, or a conflict of interests were to ever arise, a different person can become the guardian. Obtaining guardianship is a longer process, and is much easier with the help of a lawyer. At the Law Offices of Amy Turos, we make this process easy for you.

How do you become a Guardian?

Guardian appointment occurs when an interested group or the probate court itself files a motion as well as a “Statement of Expert Evaluation”. The statement must come from the ward’s licensed physician and it must address whether or not a guardianship is required for the incompetent person.

Next, the probate court will send out a court investigator to evaluate the ward. The investigator will prepare a report which will be reviewed by the probate court later.

Then, the hearing is set and the court will discuss how necessary guardianship is for the ward. They will answer whether or not they believe the person to be incompetent, and they will also determine who is best-suited for the role of guardianship.

Who can Become a Guardian?

In Ohio, probate courts prefer that guardians live in the same county as their ward, but that is not a necessary requirement. They can live in different counties or even out of state. No matter where they live, the guardian must be able to pass a criminal background check, as well as participate in a training course every year that they are a guardian of their ward. The guardians will also have to write a report every year that they are a guardian of their ward. The probate court will decide then if there are any conflicts of interest between the guardian and their ward.

Guardians are often family members of the ward, since they must be able to make decisions in the best interest of their ward. They must also make decisions on behalf of the ward.

The Guardianship process is a lengthy legal process which takes away the rights of an incompetent person. Having a consultation at our offices can help you work through this taxing process. We can help you determine who you want to nominate for future guardianship, and we will make the process easy for you.

Amy Turos, Esq.

Attorney Amy Turos represents clients in Ohio family law,
estate planning, and motor vehicle accidents throughout Portage County,
Trumbull County, Geauga County, and Summit County Ohio.