How to Become a Legal Guardian
A legal guardian is an individual who has legal responsibility for and authority over the interests of a person and their property. Generally, an individual can gain legal guardianship over a minor, or adults incapacitated by age or disability. When a person becomes a legal guardian, their role is to act in the best legal decision-making interests of that person, called their ward.
Types of Guardianship
For minors/guardian ad litem
Minors have either natural guardians or legal guardians. They may have guardians ad litem who represent their best interests in court. You can read more about them in this blog post.
A person may gain legal guardianship of a senior should that senior be judged incapacitated in an evidentiary hearing. Guardianship, if awarded, may not completely expand over every aspect of a ward’s life—for instance, personally, but not financially, and vice versa. Read more about them in this post.
For disabled or incapacitated adults
Should a friend or family member be disabled or otherwise incapacitated, another adult may become their guardian. Learn about guardianship of adults here.
How do judges choose guardians?
Guardians must meet a certain set of criteria in order to be approved. They must be at least 18 years of age. You can expect these certain aspects of your relationship with the potential ward to come into play:
- Family comes first. Generally, courts try to keep families together. You may be vying for guardianship of an individual with multiple parties as competition—one or more of their parents, or your very own siblings. The closer the family relationship, the better the chances are that that party, if they are deemed suitable, will gain guardianship.
- Good behavior. Guardians can’t be just anyone. Judges choose people who do not have any felonies or gross misdemeanors and who themselves aren’t incapacitated. This way they can help ensure the ward avoids exploitation.
Who can help me with my legal guardianship questions?
Contact the Law Office of Andrew Sorrentino for all of your needs.