How to Become a Legal Guardian – Guest Post

Become a Legal Guardian

If you want to become the primary caretaker of a minor or an adult who isn’t able to care for themselves, you can go through the legal process that’s necessary to become a legal guardian. There are some differences in the process of establishing guardianship over a minor versus an adult, but each type of guardianship involves some common steps that you should know.

Submit the Required Forms

You’ll need to fill out and submit specific forms to start the legal process of becoming a guardian. These forms will likely be available for download on the state judicial branch website. A petition to become a guardian along with a form that specifies your understanding of the responsibilities of being a guardian should be signed and submitted to a local courthouse. You’ll also need to fill out a notice of hearing form to schedule a court date so that a judge can decide if you’re a suitable guardian.

Prove That the Person Needs a Guardian

For a minor child, it’s usually easy to prove that they need guardianship if their parents have died or are proven to be unsuitable caretakers, but proving that an adult needs guardianship can sometimes be more challenging. For an adult, you may need to keep records of observable behaviors within the past few months to demonstrate that the person isn’t capable of self-care. Medical records and statements from other professionals can also help prove that an adult needs guardianship. A guardianship attorney can help you collect any proof that you need to support your claim.

Attend the Court Hearing

After the required forms have been submitted, you’ll be given a court date if these forms have been approved. During your hearing, you should be prepared to answer questions about your capabilities of being a guardian. The child or adult who needs guardianship may be present, and the judge will likely call on the individual to provide testimony if they’re able. For guardianship of a child, you should be prepared to bring the child’s birth certificate and the parent’s death certificates (if applicable). If you’re requesting guardianship for a child who’s over the age of 14, the child’s preference for who should be their guardian will also be taken into consideration by the judge.

By following the proper protocol to establish guardianship, you can avoid certain setbacks that may delay the process. Your lawyer can tell you more about what you’ll need to do to become a legal guardian and attend your court hearing to assist you.