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What Are Guardianships and When Do They Expire?

By: Kayla Sibble

Guardianship is defined as “obtaining the legal authority to make decisions for another person.” The Court appoints the guardian on behalf of the incapacitated person. This might occur due to the Court discovering that the alleged incapacitated person is not able to make critical decisions regarding their personal and/or financial affairs on their own; there are no legal alternate arrangements set in place; and there is a risk of substantial harm to the person or their resources. Moreover, the Court must determine if the person meets the legal definition of incapacity based on medical, psychological and other evidence about the individual’s decision-making ability.

The different types of guardianships are guardian of the person and/or property and plenary or limited guardianship. Plenary, also known as “full” guardianship, allows the guardian to make virtually all decisions for an individual, and limited guardianship allows the guardian to have certain decision-making powers that would be specified in the court order. Because of the risk of elder abuse, it is important for Courts to actively monitor guardians’ conduct.

            There are numerous reasons why a guardianship might be terminated: the ward regains the ability to care for themselves; the guardian is unable to locate the ward after diligent search; the ward passes away; the property has been exhausted; the minor ward has reached the age of majority; or the home of the resident ward has changed to a foreign jurisdiction.

            If you or someone you know would like to discuss more about guardianships and how they can aid you, contact Attorney Lauren Richardson at 352-204-224 to schedule your free 15-minute phone consultation today!



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