WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT GUARDIANSHIP
A guardianship may become necessary when an individual, called a “ward,” is physically or mentally unable to care for him or herself. A Durable Power of Attorney can limit the need for a Guardianship of the Estate, but only if executed before incapacitation. Our attorneys can help you evaluate which type of guardianship is best based on the ward’s assets and individual needs. We can also provide information to help you handle related matters such as social security checks.
A guardian has a legal duty to act in the best interests of the ward. This may mean going above and beyond what the ward would do in certain situations. Guardians should NEVER comingle their own funds with a ward’s funds. The guardian also has a duty to file certain documents throughout the duration of the guardianship. A guardian may come across other legal matters, such as dealing with the ward’s creditors or leasing out the ward’s property.
Even if you already have already been appointed as guardian, you may need to hire an attorney to prepare the Inventory, Annual Accounting, Annual Report or other documents.
HOW MUCH DOES GUARDIANSHIP COST?
The cost varies based on the type of guardianship, the assets of the ward, whether the ward has executed a Declaration of Guardian Before the Need Arises, and whether anyone challenges the application for guardianship.
Filing fees vary by county and usually range between $250-$350. There will also be costs for certified copies, service of legal documents, publication of notices, bond (Guardianship of Estate only) and attorney ad litem fees.
Attorneys’ fees will vary based on the individual facts of the case.
HOW LONG DOES GUARDIANSHIP TAKE?
The typical process of obtaining a guardianship takes about 1-3 months. The guardian will have multiple reporting requirements in the first year, plus annual reporting requirements until the guardianship is closed.
HOW INVOLVED WILL I HAVE TO BE?
The Coquat Law Firm strives to make the probate process as smooth and painless as possible. Our clients have the option to save costs by actively participating in certain aspects of the process. This type of proceeding involves a hearing and a few meetings with the attorney, at a minimum.