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Guardianship: important elements to consider

The family court in Arkansas may issue guardianship orders, under which an incapacitated person or a person with disabilities will be ordered to be under the care of another person. That person can either be a relative or another person who would like to assume the responsibility for that person. The guardianship allows a person to have complete control over the ward’s property and physical person. Guardianship may also be allowed in cases where the ward is addicted to drugs or alcohol or is still a minor.

To become a guardian, a person must be over 18 years of age and must be of sound mind. It is necessary for a guardian to be a resident of the same state as the ward, and guardians cannot have been charged or convicted of any crimes. A guardian must take care of the medical needs of the ward and is also responsible for educating that ward. However, a guardian is not allowed to make decisions regarding surgery or amputations that need to be performed on the ward unless the condition is life-threatening. For those types of decisions, prior approval from a family court is required. This was discussed previously in an earlier post.

A guardian is entitled to receive payment for the guardianship, which covers expenses related to the ward’s care. However, foster care payments are available only if the ward lives in the foster home for more than six consecutive months, and there is little possibility of the ward returning to live with the biological parents. Although a guardian is the custodian of the ward’s assets, the guardian does not have the right to abuse that privilege. Additionally, a guardian is required by the court to submit reports concerning the ward once a year and the reports must contain justifiable reasons for the ward to continue living with the guardian. The guardian is not allowed to settle any claim on behalf of the ward and subsequently withholding that ward’s legal rights.

At our law firm, we provide suggestions on issues related to guardianship. In addition to providing guardianships for children, we also handle guardianship issues involving the elderly. Seeking the assistance of an experienced attorney can help build a solid plan of legal action in these often-stressful situations.

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