When a person is awarded guardianship, that means that he or she now has the authority to make decisions on behalf of another person. The court appoints someone as guardian so that they can manage the legal decision-making for a minor. The minor for whom guardianship is granted is called, in legal documents, the “protected person.” Typically, guardianships come to a conclusion when the protected person turns 18, and begins to handle all of their own decisions from a legal standpoint.

When Do Minors Need Guardians?

teenager with cool sneakersOrdinarily, a child’s parents would make decisions for the child. If the parents are deceased, or for any other reason are unable to take on that responsibility, then the court may need to designate a guardian.

If the guardian is making decisions regarding the child’s estate, that may mean that the child has inherited assets such as cash accounts and life insurance. That guardian is charged with the responsibility of protecting these assets until the child becomes an adult.

A guardianship may be required if the parent has a disease, a mental illness, or a mental incapacity that makes it impossible for the adult to oversee the child’s legal affairs.

To file for guardianship, the protected person in question must have lived in a particular county for at least six months. Guardianship cases are handled at the county level. It is strongly recommended that you seek the advice of a family lawyer if you are intending to apply for guardianship.

Three Types of Guardianship

In Ohio, guardianship is handled one of three ways:

  1. Guardianship of the Minor’s Person

If the child’s parents are unwilling or unable to care for the child, then the court may appoint a guardian. This also may happen if the minor’s best interests would be otherwise promoted by having a guardian in place.

  1. Guardianship of the Minor’s Estate

If the child has obtained more than $25,000 in property, the law requires the child to obtain legally authorized help with the administration of those financial assets.

  1. Guardianship of the Minor’s Person and Estate

When joint control of the child and the child’s assets is required, then guardianship will cover both the individual and the individual’s estate.

If the child is over fourteen years of age, the state of Ohio will allow the child to nominate a guardian. It is still up to the Court to appoint this guardian, but the child can make the nomination himself or herself.