What is a professional guardian

What is the role of a professional guardian

There is much confusion about the role of a professional guardian 

First of all, it is important to understand that guardians are court appointed and all the actions of the guardian are overseen by the Clerk of Courts of the particular county. 

In order for a guardian to assume responsibilities, the individual must be declared incompetent by a medical review committee. A multitude of reports are submitted to the Court annually as well as certain actions concerning financial transactions must have court order for approval.

There are different types of guardians that provide service to someone. 

A Pre-need Guardian - a guardian that is named in written declaration to serve as a guardian in the event of the incapacity of the declarant. This type of declaration is usually done in preplanning documents in order to protect the individual from abuse and/or exploitation if this person ever became incapacitated and unable to make decisions for himself.  Whereas a healthcare surrogate would make medical decision, the guardian would make housing and oversee the financial well-being of the individual.   

Guardianship of the Person - a person appointed by the court who has been appointed by the court to exercise any personal affairs of or make medical decisions for the individual  These could include

  • Determine and monitor residence.
  • Consent to and monitor medical treatment.
  • Consent and monitor non-medical services such as education and counseling.
  • Consent and release of confidential information.
  • Make end-of-life decisions.
  • Act as representative payee.
  • Maximize independence in least restrictive manner.
  • Report to the court about the guardianship status at least annually

Guardianship of the Estate or Property - a person person who has been appointed by the court to exercise all or some of the powers and rights over the property of the individual. These could include

  • Marshall and protect assets.
  • Obtain appraisals of property.
  • Protect property and assets from loss.
  • Receive income for the estate.
  • Make appropriate disbursements.
  • Obtain court approval prior to selling any asset.
  • Report to the court or estate status.

A Limited Guardian - a guardian appointed by the court to exercise only hose rights specifically designated by court order. 

Family Guardian - any family member related by blood or marriage who is appointed by the court to
oversee the individual.  A family can receive compensation for their time and expense in the care of the individual.

It is prudent to discuss guardianship with your attorney in order to fully understand all that is involved with guardianship.


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