A guardianship is a legal relationship in which the court appoints one person (guardian) to make personal and/or financial decisions for an incapacitated adult or a minor child. An adult guardianship most often occurs when an elderly person becomes unable to make sound financial and/or personal decisions.

There are two types of guardianships:

  • Guardianship of the estate which gives the guardian authority to manage the finances for the incapacitated adult, and
  • Guardianship of the person, which gives the guardian authority to make personal, living, housing and medical decisions for the incapacitated adult

An incapacitated person may require both types of guardianship. One person may serve as guardian of both the person and estate or one person may be guardian of the person and another person may be guardian of the estate.

An application for appointment of guardianship is usually filed when:

  • An elderly person has become demented and did not properly plan for incapacitation, or
  • There is a disagreement among family members as to who should be responsible for the care of the incapacitated person

Guardianship proceedings are often contested and the guardianship process can be time consuming and costly. A guardianship should be avoided, if possible, by working with an attorney to develop an estate plan with powers of attorney (link to section on powers of attorney) and a revocable living trust. Sometimes, however, a guardianship is unavoidable. Mr. Jones has the expertise and dedication to support you and your family through this process.