In our democracy, the responsibility of the government is to protect its people. For those who cannot make decisions for themselves, including minor children and incapacitated adults, there is a legal process for the appointment of guardians to provide those protections specified by competent adults and the courts.
Guardianships begin with the court unless you initiate the process in your estate plan. The guardianship process is an important topic of conversation you should have with an estate planning attorney. We’ve been having these kinds of conversations with individuals and families in Elizabethtown, Louisville, Radcliff, Bardstown, Shepherdsville, and throughout Kentucky for decades. If you are ready to discuss guardianships as part of an estate plan, or if you have been named as a guardian and want to learn more about your roles and responsibilities, reach out to Bland & Birdwhistell, PLLC.
What Is Guardianship?
Guardianships allow one person to legally make decisions for another person. A guardian is a person appointed by the probate court to make decisions regarding personal and/or financial matters for a minor child or an incapacitated or disabled adult. Kentucky statutes refer to the person appointed to oversee personal matters as a “guardian” and one who oversees financial matters as a “conservator;” however, one person may be responsible for both.
The court may appoint any person or public or private entity capable of carrying out the responsibilities of a guardian, although it will avoid choosing an individual or entity otherwise providing services to the ward, such as a home health or skilled nursing facility.
The court will attempt to ask the ward about their preference for the appointment. If the ward gave their power of attorney to someone prior to incapacitation or disability, the court considers that person or entity to be the ward’s preference.