Under Arkansas law, people who apply to become guardians of others must meet certain requirements for appointment, including being at least age 18. If they are appointed as guardians of minor children or incapacitated persons, they must also meet certain guidelines established by state law to protect the best interests of their wards. So what are these guidelines?
First, a guardian must properly take care of and maintain the health and well-being of the ward, whether or not the resources of the ward’s estate are available. A guardian is responsible for taking care of medical needs and making financial decisions as well as protecting and educating children.
Second, a guardian must submit periodic reports about the ward’s current condition as directed by the court. These reports should include accounts of the ward’s estate and detailed reasons why guardianship for that person should continue. A court may ask for additional information, and this should be supplied when requested.
Third, there are certain decisions a guardian cannot make without filing a petition and receiving court approval. For an incapacitated ward, these include decisions about abortion, sterilization, psychosurgery or removal of body organs unless the person’s life is in danger.
Fourth, court-appointed guardians cannot withhold lifesaving treatment or authorize experimental medical procedures. They cannot put an end to parental rights or forbid the ward from obtaining a driver’s license if the person is of age.
Fifth, guardians cannot settle or compromise any claims on behalf of the child or incapacitated person.
Anyone who has questions about his or her responsibilities under the state’s guardianship laws may want to consider consulting an attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can help a guardian fulfill their responsibilities under the law.
Source: State.AR.us, “Duties of a guardian,” accessed April 1, 2015