When a person lacks the capacity to make decisions for him or herself, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian. A guardianship grants one person, called a guardian, the legal right to make decisions for another person, called a ward.
A person must be over the age of 18 and must be a legal resident or citizen of the United States to petition the court to act as a guardian. The petition is a written request made to the court.
The court will hold a hearing, where the petitioner can present evidence to the judge to demonstrate why the potential ward needs a guardian. The court will then appoint a guardian, if appropriate, and issue letters of guardianship which lay out the guardian’s responsibilities.
Guardianship in Oregon
In Oregon, a guardian of the person is authorized to make decisions for the ward’s health care, education and general welfare.
A guardian of the property is authorized to make decisions about the ward’s money, investments, savings or other financial matters. The guardian must keep an accounting of the ward’s property. This may include the names and addresses of the ward’s financial institutions, account numbers, balances and cash, stocks, bonds, settlement funds and pensions.
It also may include an accounting of the ward’s personal property like jewelry, artwork and furniture along with their estimated value. The guardian will submit an annual report to the court each year.
A guardian of the person and the property may have responsibilities for both. Guardianships can be complex but an experienced attorney can provide representation and answer questions.