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Guardianships in Ohio

Guardianships are relationships established by a Court where a guardian acts on behalf of a ward. A ward is someone that is unable to care for their self or their property and the guardian is the person appointed to provide that care for the ward.

Types of Guardianships

In Ohio guardianship may be obtained over a minor child or an incompetent adult. The guardianship may be for the estate or the person or both. If the ward is only unable to take care of their finances but is able to care for themselves, then the guardianship may be of the estate only. If the ward has no real assets that need taken care of but is unable to care for themselves, then the guardianship may be of the person only. If the ward is unable to care for themselves or their assets, then the guardianship may be of the person and estate. The type of guardianship needed depends on the circumstances of the case.

A guardianship can also be limited, unlimited, interim, or emergency. A limited guardianship gives only specific powers to the guardian while the ward retains all other powers. A Court may need to appoint an interim guardian if a previous guardian is no longer willing or able to serve. The interim guardian will serve until a successor guardian can be appointed by the Court. An emergency guardianship may be established where circumstances exist that may result in harm to the ward or their property unless immediate action is taken by a guardian. In the case of an emergency guardianship, there may not be time to notify the ward of family until after the guardian is appointed. Emergency guardianships are for a short period of time until the situation is resolved or until a more permanent guardianship can be established.

Guardianship Process in Ohio

In order the establish a guardianship in Ohio the appropriate documents must be filed in the Probate Court. Notice will be sent to the proposed ward, next of kin, and other people as the Court shall determine necessary. The proposed ward has the right to Court appointed counsel if they cannot afford an attorney to represent them in contesting a guardianship. A hearing is held where evidence and testimony are presented to the Court relating to the need for or against the guardianship. Once the hearing is over and all evidence has been presented, the Court will determine whether a guardianship is necessary, and if so, appoint a guardian.

The Duties of a Guardian in Ohio

Ohio takes the duties and responsibilities of a guardian very seriously to prevent abuse and mistreatment of the guardianship relationship.  The ward’s money does not become the guardian’s money and approval from the Court must be obtained prior to using the ward’s funds.  Guardians are required to file accountings with the Court indicating how and when the ward has been cared for, where the ward’s money has been used, and many other items related to the guardian’s duties and responsibilities to the ward.  If you suspect that a ward is being physically, mentally, or financially abused talk the appropriate law enforcement agency and an attorney immediately.

If you have questions regarding guardianships, contact a licensed Ohio attorney as guardianships are a complex area of the law.  To be directed to the Contact page for Yates Law Office, LLC click here.