How do I Become a Legal Guardian?

N. Madison
N. Madison

A legal guardian is a person who takes on legal responsibility for another person. This may involve making legal, financial, health care, personal care, and educational decisions for another party. It may also include deciding where the person will live or even providing a residence for the person in need of guardianship. Often, a person who wants to become a legal guardian has to file paperwork with the appropriate court system in his jurisdiction and appeal to the court to grant him guardianship. In some cases, however, legal guardians are chosen by the parents of the party who is in need of guardianship.

A legal guardian is legally responsible for providing care to another person.
A legal guardian is legally responsible for providing care to another person.

Often, people think of children when considering individuals who might be in need of guardians. Sometimes, a child needs a guardian because his parents have died, for example, or because they are unable or unwilling to care for him properly. In some cases, however, an adult may be in need of a guardian. For example, if a person has a severe disability and is unable to care for himself physically, he may need a legal guardian. Likewise, an adult with a mental issue that renders him unable to make sound decisions for himself may be in need of a guardian as well.

The requirements and procedures a person must follow to become a legal guardian may vary from place to place.
The requirements and procedures a person must follow to become a legal guardian may vary from place to place.

The requirements and procedures a person must follow to become a legal guardian may vary from place to place. Different countries and even different regions within the same country may have varying guidelines. In most cases, however, a person who wants to become a legal guardian has to file paperwork with the court system in his area, pay any required fees, and demonstrate to the court that it should give him legal guardianship of the person in question. In some cases, a person may have to submit to interviews, home studies, and background checks as well.

In some cases, becoming a legal guardian may be a straightforward and relatively easy process.
In some cases, becoming a legal guardian may be a straightforward and relatively easy process.

Sometimes, becoming a guardian may be a straightforward and relatively easy process, such as when parents have left a will and named a person as their child's legal guardian. If no one contests the guardianship arrangement, the process may short and simple. If an individual wants to become a guardian and someone else contests the change in court, however, a long and complex legal battle may ensue. This may happen, for example, if a person wants to become the legal guardian of a child whose parents are alive and hoping to retain guardianship.

Since securing legal guardianship can sometimes be difficult or complex, a person who hopes to become a legal guardian may do well to consult with an attorney. An attorney experienced with guardianship cases may be well versed in the jurisdiction's laws and help to ensure that the case proceeds smoothly. Some may offer free consultations.

Guardianship may be granted if an adult is found to be incapable of making sound decisions.
Guardianship may be granted if an adult is found to be incapable of making sound decisions.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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