Family members or loved ones may become so mentally impaired due to Alzheimer’s, dementia, disability, mental retardation, or chronic substance abuse that they are incapable of taking care of themselves or their property. In an ideal world, your family member or loved one will have signed a durable power of attorney authorizing someone else to serve as a substitute decision maker prior to becoming mentally impaired. However, if a durable power of attorney has not been signed, it may be necessary to establish a Guardianship through the Probate Court.
The process of having a Guardian appointed for an incompetent individual, referred to as the ward, is initiated by filing an application with the Probate Court. The Probate Court requires that the Guardian of an Ohio ward be a resident of the State of Ohio. The proposed Guardian will also be required to submit a professional opinion or statement from a doctor or psychologist stating that the proposed ward is incapable of his or her care, or the care of his or her property.
Probate Court will schedule a hearing on the application and require notice of the hearing to be sent to the proposed ward and the closest living relatives. As part of this notice procedure, the Probate Court will have an investigator meet with the proposed ward to inform him or her of the rights provided by law.
After a Guardian is appointed by Probate Court, the Guardian is required to file a report and financial accounting with the Court every two years. The report will outline the ongoing physical and mental condition of the ward to help the Probate Court determine if there is a need for the Guardianship to continue. The financial account must accurately reflect all assets, income, and payments the Guardian has received or paid on the ward’s behalf.
Deciding to have a family member or loved put under the control of a Guardianship is not an easy decision. Don’t let the legal complexities of the process make it even more emotionally draining. Let the attorneys at Phillips Law Firm, Inc. help guide your family through this process in a timely and cost effective manner.