Guardianship is a form of legal responsibility that one person has to another person. When you are someone’s guardian, you have an obligation to provide for their needs and put their best interests ahead of your personal desires. You may have legal and financial liability for what the other party does.
Some forms of guardianship are essentially automatic. Parents must fulfill a guardian role for their children unless they voluntarily rescind those rights or the state terminates them due to abuse or neglect. Other times, people must seek guardianship by an appointment from someone with authority, usually a judge or a current guardian.
Let’s look at the different kinds of guardianships in Ohio.
When there is a child or disabled adult under the direct care of someone else, the adult responsible for their care can name someone else to fulfill that role. Testamentary guardianship often stems from estate planning documents, like a will or trust.
When someone has a short-term need for support, another adult may serve as a temporary guardian. The courts may name someone as a temporary guardian during an individual’s incapacitation. Adults can also empower their own guardians with proper advanced planning, like the creation of powers of attorney.
When a guardian assumes a role of responsibility for someone’s financial resources, what they have is a conservatorship. The conservator has an obligation to manage assets in a way that preserves and maximizes them for the individual and to fulfill their financial obligations to others.
Involuntary adult guardianship
In scenarios involving the likely permanent incapacitation of an individual with age-related issues like Alzheimer’s disease, congenital conditions or even serious mental health issues, the courts can name another adult to support that adult and manage their daily affairs. In some cases, adult guardianship may have certain limits imposed, meaning that the courts only give the guardian authority or responsibility in certain areas, like choosing the medical care that someone receives.
Learning more about the kinds of guardianships available in Ohio can help you determine how to structure your own estate plan or what form of support your loved one may require.