Jonesboro Guardianship Attorneys Prepared to Help You With Your Family’s Specific Needs
Guardianship laws were put into place to protect those who aren’t able to make decisions for themselves or in their best interest. This can be in reference to a child whose parents aren’t able to appropriately care for their child or for an adult who is no longer able to make decisions for themselves and therefore may be in need of additional guidance. A trusted adult can be legally appointed to take over the care for a minor as well as to make the decisions surrounding their life or for an adult (also referred to as the ward) who has become incapacitated and is no longer capable of making decisions for their safety, their health, and their wellbeing.
At OMG Law Firm, we have helped many families put legal guardianship into place to help ease the minds of the family members involved and ensure that the ward is being properly cared for in several aspects of life. We understand that these are very personal matters, and you can lean on our many years of experience in handling these delicate cases to rest assured that we can help your loved one as well. Contact our offices today at (870) 336-6505 to learn more.
What Types of Guardianship are Recognized in Arkansas?
There are three types of guardianship recognized in the state of Arkansas. Each of them serves a specific purpose and is put in place to protect those for whom they were established.
A person’s guardianship can allow the guardian to make decisions on behalf of the ward, including things like handling their personal care or living arrangement decisions. For example, if there has been a decline in cognitive function for an elderly family member, or they have become incapacitated due to injury or chronic illness, they may not be able to make necessary decisions regarding their personal care as well as household needs such as preparing meals, taking daily medications, and other needs.
An estate guardianship involves the ward’s financial and legal affairs. Is there some concern for a family member due to Alzheimer’s or a chronic substance abuse problem that is leaving you worried about how they are making financial decisions or legal ones that may not be in their best interest? This could be an example of where establishing an estate guardianship may be beneficial.
Guardianship of a minor generally encompasses both decisions over the child’s estate as well as for them as a person. If the parents of the child aren’t able to care for them for varying reasons, a trusted adult can be granted legal guardianship, making them responsible for the decisions surrounding the child’s life as well as how to allocate their estate if things like Social Security are involved, for example.
What is Required to be a Guardian?
In many cases, it is an adult family member that wants to obtain guardianship over another family member that they want to help. This isn’t always the case but is most common. It is not specifically required that you be related to the person in question to request guardianship. If someone is over the age of 18, of proven sound mind, is a resident of Arkansas, and has not been convicted of a felony, they can apply for guardianship.
What are Examples of Things That Legal Guardians Can’t Do?
Guardians have a moral and legal responsibility to the person in their care. They aren’t given this responsibility lightly, and it’s not meant for them to begin making demands or life-changing decisions without regard for the best interest of the ward or minor.
Some examples of things they can’t do are making ownership changes to a business on behalf of the ward or terminating the rights of parents to a minor child while they are the guardian. They can’t stand in the way of the ward obtaining or renewing their driver’s license. They also can not interfere with medical care or medical needs for the ward.
Courts typically require annual meetings with the guardian to ensure not only that needs are being met but that their actions are, in fact, in the best interest of those they are caring for. If the court suspects or sees things like money spent on large acquisitions or money spent frivolously that was meant to support the minor or ward, they will review further and determine whether or not to revoke the legal guardianship that is in place.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
There are some cases where handling this process personally can make sense. It is, however, important to remember that when you petition for a guardian to be appointed, the burden of proof is on you to plead your case and avoid the courts denying the guardianship. Courts tend to lean towards the notion of keeping both parents involved in a child’s life, for example, so proving that there is enough need for a guardian to be appointed in these cases may not always be so easy. From another perspective, you may not be the only one that wants to help an incapacitated adult, and proving why you are the best fit for the responsibilities may be harder than you think. There are plenty of laws in place to protect the ward, but they were created for reasons such as people taking advantage of the ward in the past. Therefore, courts will review these situations thoroughly, and having an experienced team on your side to help you prepare your case can mean the difference between your loved one getting the care they need or continuing to suffer.
At OMG Law Firm, we have multiple years of experience in helping families look out for their loved ones and can help familiarize you with the process. We work hard tirelessly as your advocate, so you can become theirs. Contact us today at (870) 336-6505 to learn more.