A guardian is a person, association or corporation appointed by the Court to have the care and management of the person, the estate, or both, of an incompetent adult or a minor.
Minor - A minor is generally any person under the age of eighteen years of age.
Incompetent - An incompetent is any person who is mentally impaired as a result of a mental or physical illness or disability, or mental retardation, or as a result of chronic substance abuse, that the person is incapable of taking proper care of the person's self or property or fails to provide for that person's family or other persons for whom the person is charged by law to provide, or any person confined to a correctional institution within the state.
Types of Guardianships
Person and/or estate: The guardian of the person protects the personal needs of the ward. The guardian of the estate controls and protects the assets of the ward.
• Limited: The guardian's authority is limited to specific purposes
• Interim: When a guardian can no longer serve, an interim guardian may be appointed for a short time without notice to the ward or family, until a hearing can be set to appoint a successor guardian
• Emergency: A guardian may be Court appointed in an emergency without notice to the ward or family, to serve for a short period of time to protect against injury to the person or estate of the ward
A conservatorship is a situation in which a mentally competent but physically infirm adult applies to the Court to appoint an individual or corporation to care for the applicant's person and/or property. The conservator is selected by the applicant subject to the approval of the Probate Court. A hearing will determine if the applicant is physically infirm and if the conservator is suitable to serve. The conservatorship is terminated only when the Court determines the conservatee has become mentally incompetent, by voluntary written notice by the conservatee or if the conservatee dies.
Who May Serve as a Guardian
An adult person who is a resident of Ohio may apply to be guardian of the person and estate of an incompetent person. The Probate Court must determine that the applicant is a suitable person to serve as Guardian.
Starting the Procedure for the Appointment of a Guardian
The guardian process is started by filing an application for the appointment of a guardian including other required forms, i.e. Next of Kin Form and a Statement of Expert Evaluation for an adult incompetent. The filing fee is found in local rule. In cases of Mental Retardation, the judge may determine if a fee is to be charged.
THE COURT WILL ACCEPT PERSONAL CHECKS. We do accept filings by mail. Each mailing should include a SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED RETURN ENVELOPE. Please also provide a phone number, return address and e-mail (if applicable). If there is a problem with the filing which cannot be resolved by timely communication, the filing will be returned with an explanation of the problem. After the paperwork is filed with the Court, a hearing date is scheduled. Notice of hearing is served upon all persons who are required to be served with notice.
The guardian of the estate must file an inventory of the ward's assets and income with the Court ninety (90) days from the date of the guardian's appointment.
Each year the guardian must file an account with the Court -- the first account to be filed one year from the date of the guardian's appointment. The guardian's future accounts are due two (2) years from the due date of the prior account for the period which begins at the ending date of the previous account.
The guardian must file a Guardian's Report and a Statement of Expert Evaluation in all incompetent adult guardianships. A Guardian's Report is not required in minor guardianships. The first Guardian's Report and Statement of Expert Evaluation are due to be filed two (2) years from the date of the guardian's appointment. Additional Guardian's Report and Statement of Expert Evaluation forms must be filed two (2) years after the date of the filing of the last Guardian's Report.
Termination of Guardianship
A guardianship of the person or of the estate of a minor ends on the minor's eighteenth (18th) birthday. The guardian of the estate of a minor is required to file a final account within thirty (30) days showing the remaining assets of the guardianship that have been turned over to the former minor.
A guardianship of the person or estate of an incompetent adult can be terminated for four reasons:
• the ward dies
• adult ward is determined by the Court to be competent
• if the guardian resigns, dies or is removed by the Court
• guardianship of estate may be terminated if all of the ward's assets have been properly spent
Failure to comply with the requirements of the law may result in the Court issuing a contempt citation to the Guardian. The Guardian of the estate is required to file a final account to terminate the Guardianship of the Estate.