If you suspect that someone is not capable of taking care of themselves, the first step is to reach out to an attorney with an extensive background in guardianship law.
A guardianship lawyer will be able to advise you on how to proceed with filing a petition for adjudication of incompetence or the appointment of a guardian. Once the paperwork is filed, and the appropriate fee is paid, a hearing will be scheduled.
The person who wants to become the guardian must inform everyone that would be affected by this change and provide proof to the court that they did notify everyone. The respondent, who is the person the petitioner wants to become guardian over, must be given the petition in person; this is usually done through law enforcement. After that, a date for a hearing is set, and someone is appointed to represent the respondent’s interests.
A guardian ad litem is a person appointed by the court to protect the interests of someone unable to do so themselves. In these cases, the guardian ad litem should meet with the respondent prior to the hearing date, as there may be circumstances in which they cannot meet otherwise.
When a guardian ad litem is unable to meet with the person they are representing, it may be due to the individual being hospitalized, difficult to find, or without a home. If the guardian is unable to locate the person, it may be because they are transient, do not have a home, or their mental health makes it difficult for them to remain at one residence.
This hearing happens in two phases. The first phase is when the petitioner must prove that the respondent can’t make decisions for themselves, either for everyday activities or financial needs, or both.
The court will make a determination as to whether or not a guardian is necessary. If it is determined that a guardian is needed, the court will then proceed to the second phase, which is determining who that guardian would be. The court will take testimony from those who wish to be considered for the position of guardian, as well as from others who may have insight as to who would be the best candidate.
The court will then make a decision based on all of the evidence presented. If a guardian is appointed, they are required to file an application with the court, which includes letters of appointment and a valid ID. The person signing the application must do so under oath.
As the guardian of an estate, you will be required to file certain information with the court on a regular basis. The frequency of these filings will depend on the type of guardian you have become.
For example, if you are the guardian of the estate, you will need to file an inventory within 90 days. The court may hold various hearings, depending on the needs of the ward and whether certain assets are being sold or decisions require court approval. The court may close out the estate or guardianship if no further action is required.
For more information on Guardianships Law in North Carolina, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (980) 324-3099 today.