The Powers and Duties of a GuardianWhen a loved one has come to a place in life where it is difficult for them to care for themselves and meet their daily living needs, family members or another entity may need to seek the appointment of a guardian.  Once the decision to seek guardianship is made, the person seeking guardianship will have to go through the legal process of having a guardian appointed.   Knowing the duties of your loved one’s guardian will be essential in protecting them and advocating for their best interest.

A guardian is a person appointed by the probate court to be responsible for the person’s or “ward’s” care, custody, and control.  This means that they are legally responsible for looking out for their ward’s personal needs such as where they live and receive medical care. The guardian is not responsible for managing the finances of the ward.  That responsibility would be that of a conservator.  In being responsible for their ward’s needs, the guardian has duties under the law which must be fulfilled.  Some of the duties the duties that a guardian has to their ward are as follows:

  • To determine where the ward will live and to visit them within three months of their appointment and at least every three months thereafter.
  • If entitled to custody of the ward, to make provision for the ward’s care, comfort, and maintenance and, when appropriate, arrange for the ward’s training and education.
  • To secure services to restore the ward to the best possible state of mental and physical well-being so that the ward can return to self-management at the earliest possible time.
  • To take reasonable care of the ward’s clothing, furniture, vehicles, and other personal effects and commence a protective proceeding if the ward’s property needs protection.
  • To commence a protective proceeding if the guardian believes that it is in the ward’s best interest to sell or otherwise dispose of the ward’s real property or interest in real property.
  • The Guardian has the power to consent to the ward’s medical treatment and services.
  • The Guardian has the power to execute, reaffirm, and revoke a do-not-resuscitate order on behalf of a ward is subject to this subdivision provided the guardian observes several steps.
  • If there is not a conservator appointed, the guardian has the power to take legal action to try to get the ward paid money which is owed to the ward and receive money or property which is deliverable to the ward and use it for the ward’s support, care, and education. The guardian shall exercise care to conserve any excess for the ward’s needs.
  • The guardian must report the condition of the ward’s possessions and estate to the court at least but not less than annually.
  • The guardian must also provide a report to the court and other interested parties which includes information on the ward’s health, social, mental, and, living conditions, medical treatment, recommendations regarding the living arrangements, whether actions regarding a do-not-resuscitate order on behalf of the ward were made during the past year, services received by the ward, an accounting of the guardian’s visits with the ward and the ward’s activities, recommendation regarding the continued need for guardianship, payment from the ward’s estate to any appointed conservator which is above that needed for the ward’s care, and an accounting of the guardian’s expenditures for the ward.

The powers and duties of a guardian are numerous and it is important to understand them in order to advocate for your loved one. Our office has attorneys who are experienced with guardianship law and can help you know what to expect from the guardianship process. Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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