FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BASICS

A guardianship is a relationship in which an individual, called a guardian, acts on behalf of another individual, called the ward.

While all wards lack the ability to make legal decisions or care for themselves, specific situations call for different guardianship arrangements.  For example, the needs of an elderly person with dementia is very different from the needs of a minor without a suitable parent.  At Guardian Connection, we have designed our services to provide for the specific challenges facing vulnerable adults and focus exclusively on their needs.

A guardian is appointed to stand in for an adult when the individual is unable to manage his or her personal needs due to mental impairment.  There are numerous causes of mental impairment, including age-related decline, dementia, disability, and illness.

There are a number of different types of guardianship appointments, including “guardian of the person” and “guardian of the estate.”  A guardian of the person’s primary role is to look out for the needs of the ward, while a guardian of the estate protects the assets and property of the ward.  Guardian Connection is available to assist with all adult guardianship types and needs.

Guardianship is established by the court.  The exact procedure varies depending on the jurisdiction, but the overall process is similar.  Ultimately, guardianship is established based on the determination of a judge or magistrate that a guardian is needed to look out for and make legal decisions on behalf of a mentally incompetent person.

Any adult approved by the court can be a guardian to a ward.  While family members are typically given precedence, the court may appoint the person it deems most suitable for the guardianship needs of the ward.   There are many individuals, as well, without family willing or able to assume guardianship.  When the need arises, Guardian Connection’s vetted and trained guardians are prepared to step in.

Depending on the type of guardianship and the needs of the ward, an appointment may be of limited duration or open-ended.  Regardless of the established length, a guardian can ask the court to be relieved.  

GUARDIANS

Guardian Connection offers individuals the opportunity to become a “guardian of the person.”  We offer guardianship training, matching with prospective wards, and hands-on assistance and support.

Guardian Connection provides services for all eligible adults without exclusion.  Given that dementia is frequently the basis of a ward’s mental incapacity, the majority of our wards are over the age of seventy at the time they are first assigned a guardian.

To ensure a successful guardianship, it is vital that a guardian understand the needs of the ward.  The regulations, therefore, actually require that a guardian meet the prospective ward in advance of assignment.

While we encourage you to develop a bond with your ward and visit on a regular basis, as a guardian, you are entrusted with determining the frequency of your visits based on the needs of your ward.  At a bare minimum, however, the regulations require that a guardian visit a ward at least once every three months.

A guardian does not need to reside in the vicinity of the ward.  We will match you with a ward who is located within a distance that works for you.

The majority of the wards assisted by Guardian Connection are residents of long-term care and nursing facilities.  We provide guardianship services to private- and home-care individuals as well, but you will only be matched with a ward residing at a location in which you feel comfortable and safe.

As a guardian, you are neither expected nor asked to change your lifestyle, your routine, or your ability to vacation and spend time away from home.  Here is what might change, however:  You may find that being a guardian enriches your life in considerable and numerous ways!

A guardian is not responsible to cover the expenses of the ward and will never be asked to do so.

The role of a guardian does not include providing or assisting with the ward’s personal care.  A guardian should not be providing hands-on care and doing so puts the guardian at personal risk and at risk of liability if injury should occur to the ward as a result of providing the care. 

Guardian Connection covers all the fees associated with obtaining guardianship.  It’s that simple.

Guardian Connection is unique in its field in that we offer a monthly stipend to all our guardians to cover ancillary costs that may arise.  We understand that expenses like gas and parking can add up and want to make sure that financial constraints do not stand in the way of your desire to help.  Of course, please feel free to use some of the money to bring a smile to your ward’s face. May we suggest flowers?

We don’t just help with the paperwork…we do the paperwork.  You’ll need to sign the application, but don’t worry, we’ll come to you.  When the application is complete, we bring it to court and file it for you as well.

Guardianship is a legal process that is overseen by probate court.  Once the guardianship application is filed, the court schedules a hearing to determine if a guardian is necessary.  The hearings are typically conducted in a magistrate’s office- not a courtroom- and frequently take just a few minutes to complete.

The prospective guardian needs to attend the hearing, but rest assured, we will be there with you.  Thousands of guardians are appointed every year and the process is straightforward and quick.

Prospective guardians are required to complete a 6-hour training course.  The course is available online and can be completed in stages at your convenience.  We will review the material with you and are always available to answer any questions you may have.  Needless to say, the course is available to you free-of-charge.

To ensure a ward’s safety, the court fingerprints and conducts a background check on prospective guardians prior to appointment.  An extra trip to court is typically not required. The entire process takes a couple of minutes and can usually be done shortly before the scheduled hearing. 

The rules allow for a person to be appointed for numerous guardianships and it is ultimately the court’s decision whether an application is approved.  While Guardian Connection does not have a set limit, we will only match an active guardian with additional prospective wards if we are confident in the guardian’s ability to undertake another assignment.

We look forward to speaking with you!  Please contact us here.

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