Guide To Guardianship
The purpose of guardianship is to grant legal authority to a person (and sometimes a corporation or other entity where property is concerned) to take care of a person who is incapable of taking care of himself or herself or his/her property. While a person (the person in need or another person) can recommend or prefer a particular guardian, only a court can grant legal authority to a person or entity to take care of the person in need (formerly known as a ward).
The court may appoint a guardian for an elderly person who, because of dementia or Alzheimer's disease, is incapable of caring for herself or her money, or a young adult who has a similar incapacity because of a mental disability. A court may also appoint a guardian for an orphaned child, or a minor who comes into money through an inheritance or an award resulting from a lawsuit.
A guardian is answerable to the court for his or her actions taken on behalf of the person in need, and must file periodic reports with the court, accounting for his/her conduct as guardian.
Guardianship is not designed or intended to grant authority over a child who has parents to another family member (a grandparent, for example) merely for the sake of convenience. The status of parent cannot be delegated to a non-parent; and only in cases of extreme neglect or voluntary relinquishment of custody by a parent where there is another parent or other custodial relative in the picture can a person be stripped of his or her parental rights.
If you have an older relative, adult child or minor who is in need of a guardian, or someone is seeking a guardianship over you or a loved one, call our firm at 717 657 7770 and schedule a free consultation with me, Brian C. Caffrey.