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Protect Your Rights With an Attorney Guardianship

In cases where an individual requires assistance providing for their personal needs or property management, the Family Court (for a child) or Supreme Court (for an adult) can appoint a guardian. A trained guardianship lawyer at Koestner & Shahon can assist with this process.


A full guardianship gives the guardian the power to make all decisions for the person, including medical and living arrangements. However, the guardian must seek court approval before spending or selling any assets.

Whether you have children of your own or not, it’s important to understand that guardianship is a legal process through which the court grants certain rights and responsibilities. The primary responsibility of a child guardian is to care for the well-being and development of a minor or vulnerable person. This can include providing food, shelter, clothing, and other basic needs, as well as education. In addition, the guardian may be required to manage a child’s assets. Guardians must report annually to the court about the condition of their ward, including any financial accounting reports.

A child guardian can be a relative, a friend of the family, or even an acquaintance who is willing to take on this responsibility. However, a judge will often consider the child’s best interests when deciding who to appoint as a guardian. Regardless of who is chosen, the guardian must be capable of caring for the child or vulnerable person in a safe environment and ensuring that the child is receiving proper medical and psychological care.

The process of gaining custody of a child, or legally becoming their guardian, can be complicated and emotionally draining. Therefore, it is important to be able to provide clear and convincing evidence that you are a good candidate for this role. This is why it is important to consult with a Seattle guardianship lawyer from the beginning of your case.

If you are taking care of a child temporarily, such as while the parents are away on vacation or if they are hospitalized for a medical condition, then you probably do not need to pursue a formal legal guardianship. However, if you are the permanent or long-term guardian of a child, then you must obtain a court order to ensure that you have full legal authority to make decisions about the child’s health, education, and welfare.

Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be asked by the court to allow contact between the child and the biological parent or parents. This is typically in the best interest of the child, although the court will normally place certain restrictions on such visits.

A guardian ad litem is an attorney or social worker who has been appointed by the court to represent the best interests of the child in a legal proceeding. Their qualifications vary from state to state, but they are generally required to undergo extensive training and have a high level of competence in their areas of expertise.

Guardianship is a viable option for caregivers, such as relatives, who wish to provide a permanent home for a child but do not want to go through the lengthy adoption process. This permanency strategy preserves family connections, promotes cultural and community values, and reduces racial disparities in child welfare. It is also a good option for biological parents who have voluntarily surrendered their parental rights but need to continue to financially support their child. To learn more about legal guardianships for minor children, contact a Seattle family law firm that specializes in these matters.

Adult Guardianship

When people are unable to take care of themselves or their affairs due to mental illness, drug use, or aging, they may require legal protection. In these cases, an attorney can file a petition for guardianship in Surrogate Court on behalf of the proposed ward. A person can become incapacitated temporarily, such as after a serious accident, or permanently, like with dementia or a neurological condition. The purpose of the guardianship is to provide care for the individual and manage their property if necessary.

New York law requires a high standard of proof in order to establish that an adult is unable to make decisions for themselves. For example, the judge must determine that they are unable to make their own choices and cannot appreciate the consequences of those choices. Additionally, they must be shown to be unable to protect themselves from others or their property. The court can also dispense with a hearing if the petitioners are the parents of the adult, which is often the case, or if a physician certifies that the individual cannot be present for a hearing because of medical reasons.

After the petition is filed, notice is served on anyone who might object to your appointment as guardian, such as family members, friends, or professional agencies that have worked with the individual. If you are able to demonstrate that the requirements are met, the judge will appoint you as guardian.

Guardianship is a legal relationship that is permanent unless modified or revoked by the court. It will continue until the ward dies or is found capable of managing their own affairs. Unless the person named in your legal document has established their own power of attorney, you will be responsible for filing periodic reports with the court.

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