If you have concerns over a guardianship, you may be able to bring those to a judge’s attention by objecting to the guardianship. This may happen before a guardian is appointed or after. You also may be able to attend the court hearing where the judge will decide if a guardianship is necessary and, if so, who will become the guardian. In addition,you can submit a written statement expressing your concerns, which usually requires a filing fee. The process becomes a little more complex if guardianship has already been awarded to someone and you believe there are reasons why this person should not have the role of a guardian.
What Factors Are Considered For A Guardianship?
Courts typically consider several factors when deciding whether a petitioner should be appointed the legal status of a guardian. Those factors include the relationship of a potential guardian and the ward (the protected person) and whether they are related or close friends, whether the ward has a condition that requires him or her to be placed under protection (such as being elderly, disabled, or underage), the existence of a formal guardianship letter signed by the ward expressing his or her preferences, and whether the guardianship is temporary or emergency.They will also look into the potential guardian’s mental, emotional, and physical conditions and stability, as well as his or her financial situation.
On What Grounds Can A Guardianship Be Contested?
When a guardianship is contested, it is usually on the grounds of neglect or abuse and requires a formal process to demonstrate to a judge that the guardian is unfit to care for the ward. You will need to file a motion to set aside the order with the probate court where the guardianship was originally awarded. The judge will then hear all parties and decide whether any of them should be given legal status as a guardian, always taking into consideration the ward’s best interest and the guardian’s ability to carry out his or her duties accordingly. This motion cannot be filed simply because one dislikes or disagrees with the judge’s decision. There must be sufficient proof that the guardianship order was obtained due to fraud, misrepresentation, excusable neglect, or misconduct of a party. In most states, this motion needs to be filed within six months from the date when the original guardianship order was initiated.
You may also file a motion to remove and replace a guardian, if you can show enough evidence that the guardian has failed to perform his or her duties in protecting and providing for the guardian. A judge will then decide if there are enough legal reasons to remove the current guardian and appoint a new one.
Who Can Help Me With My Guardianship Questions?
If you want to learn more about your options for contesting a guardianship, or if you have been notified that your guardianship status is being contested, it is important to seek the help of an experienced Clarksville estate planning attorney to guide you. Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC has a team of seasoned attorneys that have assisted countless guardians Contact our office to learn more and get a case review.