Guardianship is a judicial process used to protect a loved one who has become vulnerable to abuse or exploitation due to mental or physical incapacity which renders them incapable of managing their own affairs. A guardianship may also be needed to safeguard the property of a minor child who legally cannot manage their own property, for example, a child who is injured by the negligence of an adult and who has a judgment or settlement in their favor.

Guardianship can be established either as the result of incapacity or due to an intellectual disability. A person can also voluntarily have a guardian appointed for them. This is called voluntary guardianship.

Guardianship based on incapacity requires the filing of a petition that alleges the person to be incapacitated (formerly referred to as “incompetent”). A three-person examining committee will be appointed. These persons will examine/interview the alleged incapacitated person and submit written reports to the court regarding their opinion as to whether the person has capacity, lacks full capacity, or lacks capacity in some areas only while retaining capacity in others.

Guardianship based on intellectual disability (formerly referred to as “developmental disability”) does not require an adjudication of incapacity and is referred to as a Guardian Advocate matter. Accordingly, no examining committee will be appointed. Guardian advocate cases are considered to be a less restrictive alternative to guardianship by incapacity.

The alleged incapacitated person is entitled to be represented by counsel. An attorney will be appointed to represent them; they can substitute their own attorney at any time after appointment of a guardian or guardian advocate.

Call Raymond S. Grimm Esq.P.A. Today

If you, as the child’s parent, wish to create a guardianship for your child, or you wish to become a guardian of your family member or friend’s child following their incapacitation, illness, injury, incarceration, or death contact Raymond S. Grimm Esq.P.A. today for assistance. Call (941) 423-7897 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation.