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Learn about Guardians
Summerside Western Capitals primed with skill, speed, grit ahead of home opener. A court may not appoint a guardian for someone unless that person is legally incompetent. For example, in most states anyone under 18 is presumably incompetent to manage their own affairs, and all states allow a court to declare a person incompetent after a hearing. These hearings are frequently combined with hearings to appoint a guardian. See Incompetence.
Usually, in a hearing to appoint a guardian, there are no formal plaintiffs and defendants , and all parties are presumed to be working in the prospective ward's best interest. Furthermore, guardianship hearings are civil , not criminal. Thus, even though a choice guardians can substantially impact a ward's live and liberty, wards do not enjoy many of the procedural protections available in typical cases.
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Similarly, even though guardianship hearings may involve aggressive attacks against prospective guardians' credentials and character, the targeted guardians do not have the right to respond as they would if they were, for example, parties in a normal civil action. The precise procedural and substantive rules governing guardianship hearings and their participants varies by jurisdiction.
For example, if a sister and brother each want to be their mother's guardian, and the sister produces an affidavit attacking the brother's qualifications, in some jurisdictions, the affidavit would be admissibile evidence , and the brother would not have a right to interrogate the person who wrote it. Some jurisdictions have special procedures that allow courts to rapidly appoint a temporary guardian in an emergency. These special procedures allow courts to bypass many of the potentially time-consuming portions of guardianship proceedings and, in some cases, allow a judge to appoint a guardian without any hearing at all.
For example, a judge might appoint a temporary guardian for a seriously ill child whose parents refused to allow medical treatment, or for an elderly person who posed on immediate threat to herself or others. The availability and characteristics of temporary guardianship proceedings vary by jurisdiction. Guardians can be split into roughly three types. First, some guardians are friends or family members of their ward.
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For example, an adult child might become the guardian of an elderly, mentally ill parent. Second, in some jurisdictions, there is a public guardians. Similarly, some government institutions act like guardians, even though they are not officially designated as a guardian.
For example, some government protective agencies fulfill many functions traditionally performed by guardians, even though they are not technically considered guardians by the courts and are not subject to close court oversight. The role of public guardians and agencies varies by jurisdiction. Third, some people are professional guardians. They are often attorneys or other professionals who serve as guardians when more traditional candidates are unwilling or unable to provide wards with the care they need.
Courts may limit guardians' authority. In some jurisdictions, guardians of the estate are called "conservators," while guardians of ther person are called "guardians. This can result in a single ward having multiple guardians of the estate spread out over several states. There are several ways that a guardianship can end. First, the court that appointed a guardian may subsequently dismiss that guardian, either on request or on its own. Secondly, a guardianship ends at the death of the ward.
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Third, a guardian of a minor child automatically ceases to be the child's guardian when the child comes of age. Finally, in some jurisdictions, a guardianship automatically ends if the ward marries. In some of these jurisdictions, marriage terminates guardianships of the person, but not guardianships of the estate. Even when everyone acts in good faith, contested guardian hearings can be incredibly difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. They can drag long-running, highly emotional family disputes into court rooms, frustrating judges and bogging down court proceedings.
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Because it can be very difficult to evaluate guardianship candidates, the process may involve multiple expert witnesses and and aggressive attacks on potential guardians credentials and character. Meanwhile, the would-be ward might vehemently deny that she is incompetent in the first place. During this process, legal fees continue to mount.