A Legal Plan Provides Help for Guardianship

Affordable attorney services and professional guidance for the different types of guardianship

Unexpected things happen in life and sometimes an individual may be tasked with providing care for a loved one. Legal guardianship is one way for a loved one to assume responsibility for the care of an individual who is a minor or has a physical or mental disability.

In the simplest terms, Guardianship is the legal process by which a person (the guardian) is legally assigned the care and/or the property of an individual (the ward) not legally competent or too young to act for himself or herself. Most commonly, guardianships are granted in the case of disabled individual who is unable to handle his or her affairs, or for a minor child whose parents have died or been declared unfit. Sometimes the guardianship can be planned and sometimes it’s unplanned, but in all cases, the guardianship must be granted by a court.

In the case of a guardianship for a disabled individual, this comes into play when an individual does not have a power of attorney in place that appoints someone to handle their financial or healthcare matters.

How it differs from Adoption
Although it may seem that a guardianship is similar to adoption, it differs in some important ways. With an adoption, an individual assumes permanent custody over another individual. A Guardianship is typically temporary and allows birth parents, if still around, legal rights as well. Birth parents can also terminate the guardianship and reclaim custody, which is not typically the case with an adoption.

Inheritance rules also differ with a guardianship, as a legal guardian can’t pass inheritance on to the “ward,” unless they’ve included them in their will. An attorney can help determine which option makes the most sense and provide guidance on what is legally granted in an adoption vs. a guardianship.

What does a guardian do?
A guardian is designated to make personal, medical, and financial decisions for the “ward.” This may include making financial or medical decisions and/or making living arrangements. For a child, it might mean providing basic daily care for them such as food and shelter and making any of the decisions that would typically fall to the parents.

There are many reasons why it is important to seek legal help when dealing with a guardianship situation. Even if the guardianship is planned, such as in the case of a grandparent stepping in to care for grandchild, the court may have questions about the ability of the grandparents to care for the child. Or, if the guardianship becomes contested and a parent or another family member objects, an attorney will be necessary as the case becomes more complicated in this situation.

What does the legal plan cover?
Many legal plans cover establishing an uncontested guardianship or conservatorship over a person and his or her estate when the Plan Member or spouse is appointed guardian or conservator. Many plans also cover contested guardianship as well. This includes obtaining a permanent and/or temporary guardianship or conservatorship, gathering any necessary medical evidence, preparing the paperwork, attending the hearing and preparing the initial accounting.

The legal plan does not cover representation of the person over whom guardianship or conservatorship is sought, or any annual accountings after the initial accounting.

To find out more about your coverage, log into our member website members.legalplans.com.

This article is intended to provide you with general information. This article is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, legal advice. If you require legal advice, please consult with your own attorney.



Zimmet Law Group, https://www.zimmetlaw.com/new-york-city-estate-planning-attorney/guardianship/
Considering Adoption, https://consideringadoption.com/adoptive-family/legal-guardianship-vs-adoption

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