Guardianship

We take great pride in helping those who have difficulty helping themselves.

It may be that your loved one is no longer able to make sound financial decisions.  They may have medical issues or be otherwise unable to care for themselves.  They may be susceptible to the influences of others.  Whether a person is not yet an adult or is already an older citizen, a guardianship may be necessary to protect them now and in the future.

A guardian is appointed by a Court and his or her authority is issued by court order.  Creating a guardianship gives the caregiver the legal authority to take care of financial matters and arrange for appropriate care.

With our time-tested experience and focus on superior service delivery, we will help you safeguard your family — now and in the future.  We treat all of our clients with true understanding and the sensitivity and compassion you need at a time like this.

My business is a part of me. I celebrate my clients’ achievements, and I suffer through their losses with them. They are getting a full investment out of me when they hire me. I enjoy working with folks, learning more about them, and not just focusing on the situation.

-Jeffery D. Stinson, Certified Elder Law Attorney

My business is a part of me. I celebrate my clients’ achievements, and I suffer through their losses with them. They are getting a full investment out of me when they hire me. I enjoy working with folks, learning more about them, and not just focusing on the situation.

-Jeffery D. Stinson, Certified Elder Law Attorney

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a guardianship?

Guardianship is a legal relationship between a competent adult (the “guardian”) and a person who because of incapacity is no longer able to take care of his or her own affairs (the “ward”). The guardian can be authorized to make legal, financial, health care, or other personal decisions for the ward. The National Center for State Courts says that about 1.3 million adults are living under guardianships or conservatorships with some $50 billion in assets.

What is the guardianship process?

A person begins the guardianship process by petitioning a Court. The Court will set the guardianship for hearing. Prior to the hearing, notices must be sent to the individual’s closest relatives. Notice must also be personally served on the individual (if the individual is over the age of 18).

At the hearing, evidence will need to be presented to prove the individual’s incapacity and the need for a guardian. At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge will make a determination of incapacity and appoint the guardian as necessary.

When should I apply for guardianship?

Any one over the age of 18 is presumed to have legal capacity to enter into contracts, manage finances, and make personal decisions for himself/herself. If the individual is incapable of making such decisions, a guardianship should be considered immediately upon attaining the age of 18 years.

When is someone considered incapacitated?

The standard under which a person is deemed to require a guardian differs from state to state.  Under Indiana law, an “incapacitated person” can be anyone suffering from a mental illness to those susceptible to the influence of others or that have a physical illness.  

Do I need guardianship if I have a Power of Attorney (POA)?

Sometimes, guardianship isn’t the answer at all. If a person can execute estate planning documents, she can also sign a durable power of attorney and a health care proxy, which allows someone to assist her with decisions without court involvement. “Supported decision making” is a growing alternative to guardianship in which trusted advisors like family, friends or professionals assist in making decisions, although the individual retains the ultimate right to make their own decisions.

Trying an alternative to guardianship can be important for several reasons. First, it prevents a court from ruling that someone is “incapacitated,” which carries with it a stigma and can be hard to undo. Second, it puts the person in the driver’s seat. Third, it is much less expensive and time-consuming.

Still have questions?

Contact Us

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.