Whether you’re considering filing for guardianship of your child or other loved one, there are several options available. You can choose between a guardianship through an Article 17-A or an Article 81. You can also choose to file for guardianship with a professional attorney who can help you navigate the legal process.
Article 17-A guardianship vs Article 81 guardianship
Compared to Article 81 guardianships, an Article 17-A guardianship is a simpler process. It is also much more affordable. It was created to provide for adults who lack the capacity to care for themselves. Depending on the type of incapacity, the responsibility of a guardian may vary.
In order to petition for an Article 17-A guardianship, the individual must be at least 18 years old. They must have a medical diagnosis, birth certificate, and affidavit from the proposed guardian.
A person with an intellectual disability, dementia, or autism is typically the candidate for an Article 17-A guardianship. However, this is not the only reason an individual may want to obtain one.
A person who is unable to manage their finances, make personal decisions, or handle daily living activities, such as shopping, could benefit from an Article 17-A guardianship. Alternatively, they could have a Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy to assist in their decision making.
Although Article 17-A guardianships are easier and less expensive than Article 81 guardianships, the differences in statutory schemes can be nuanced. If you need help deciding between the two types, you should consult a qualified guardianship attorney.
An Article 81 guardian is appointed by the court and has the authority to make certain decisions. He or she must act in the best interest of the incapacitated person.
Whether you are a new guardian or a seasoned professional, you will need to take a course in order to learn all about the legal and administrative requirements for guardianship without a lawyer. There are several different options available, but the online course offers the most flexibility. It can be taken on your desktop or laptop computer and you can access it within seven days of your payment.
The Becoming a Guardian and/or Conservator course is offered in two formats, with content approved by the Nebraska Supreme Court. It also includes a video highlighting ethical considerations for attorneys serving as guardians. The content of the course is specifically designed to give you the knowledge you need to be a competent and effective guardian.
Adult guardians should check with the local probate court to see if their county offers a training program. Some counties offer their own education programs, and others accept training from entities outside the probate courts.
Professional guardians must submit a criminal report, proof of forty (40) hours of training, and a bond of at least fifty thousand dollars. Non-professional guardians must also submit to a background investigation and a credit report.
Professional guardians must also register with the Office of Public & Professional Guardians. Depending on the circumstances, they may have to take a competency test.
Alternatives to guardianship
Whether you’re a parent looking for a guardianship or a child who is looking to find alternatives, you need to do your homework. The court process is lengthy and can be costly. A legal consultation with a lawyer can help you determine what options are available. However, if you’re not interested in hiring an attorney, you can explore alternative options yourself.
The first step is to identify the most important information that you need. This can be done by researching the Internet or talking to friends and family. Then you can determine the best solution for your situation.
The National Probate Court Standards recommend that courts look at less intrusive solutions. The best option is a protective order over a full or pleanary conservatorship. The Florida Legislature has mandated that the court must look into the least restrictive alternatives to guardianship.
Another good option is supported decision-making. This can be an informal or formal agreement. The support may come from people in your own family, or a third party.
A Mediator can be a neutral professional who helps you decide what alternatives are the best choice for your situation. They can also guide you through the process.
The video below is from ACTEC and provides a comprehensive look at the concept of supported decision-making.