Washington DC Guardianship Lawyer

If the need for guardianship is anticipated, a Washington DC guardianship lawyer could help ensure prospective guardians understand the requirements and obligations involved. In addition, a trust and estates advisor could help prepare the necessary documents and represent you during the court process. An attorney could even help you implement alternatives to guardianship that save time and money.

Understanding Guardianship

Guardians make decisions on behalf of those who are legally incapable of controlling their own affairs. Children under the age of 18 need a guardian, and usually, parents fulfill this role. However, if a parent is unable or unwilling to take on the task, the court may appoint another person or entity.

Guardianship could be more complicated when the matter concerns an adult. Before a court grants guardianship, the court must find the individual truly incapable of managing their own finances, personal care, or both. The court could then determine who should be appointed to fill the position.

A guardianship lawyer could help at any point in the process. Additionally, an attorney in Washington DC could advise someone who has already been appointed as a guardian on how to fulfill their legal obligations.

Alternatives to Guardianship

Courts can be reluctant to grant guardianship in cases involving adults. Taking away an individual’s right to make decisions for themselves is a major ruling. The courts want to ensure that less drastic alternatives are not an option before granting guardianship.

If an adult is still of sound mind but fears incapacity in the future, a guardianship lawyer could devise a power of attorney document. With a power of attorney, the adult secures the ability to make decisions and take actions to another person on their behalf. Unlike guardianship, a power of attorney does not take away the individual’s right to make their own decisions; it only allows another person to exercise concurrent authority. When a power of attorney is durable, it remains in force even if the person granting authority becomes incapacitated.

Guardianship Proceedings

Even if no one is contesting guardianship, a court cannot grant a guardian without going through the proper procedures as to protect the right of the prospective ward. The ward, known as the person subject to guardianship, could be represented by an attorney as well.

If that attorney visits the prospective ward and agrees that guardianship is necessary, then court procedures could be relatively simple. However, the person seeking guardianship still needs to file proper court petitions and prove with clear and convincing evidence that the individual is considered incapacitated under the definition in D.C. Code §21-2011(11).

In situations where the prospective ward objects to the appointment of a guardian or other interested parties contest the naming of a proposed guardian, the judicial process could be extended considerably. A guardianship attorney in Washington DC could prepare the necessary paperwork and present an argument to support the desired outcome.

Contact a Washington DC Guardianship Attorney to Learn More

Problems could be averted when people plan for the potential of incapacity. However, even when there are no plans in place or plans fall through, a Washington DC guardianship lawyer could assist with any guardianship issues that could arise.

Whether you are starting the process and seeking advice or involved in a contested guardianship proceeding, a consultation with an attorney could get you moving in the right direction. Call now to learn more about how a guardianship lawyer could assist with your needs.