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How To Get Temporary Guardianship

7 min read
Unbundled Legal Help

by Unbundled Legal Help

Guardianship is often necessary to make decisions legally and care for a minor or adult in need. While guardianships can last for long periods, temporary guardianship is helpful when a guardian is only needed in the short term. 

Getting temporary guardianship is like getting regular guardianship in some states, but in others it may be even simpler.

Guardianship can be tricky and confusing, but an attorney can help you navigate the process. An unbundled guardian lawyer can provide valuable guidance while keeping costs low. We can put you in contact with an unbundled guardian lawyer in your area today.

What Is Guardianship?

Guardianship refers to a legal relationship created through the court. When a judge appoints a guardian, this individual may perform tasks necessary to take care of an individual, the ward, and make important life decisions for them. 

Guardianship often becomes necessary for adults when the ward becomes incapacitated or suffers from mental incompetency. Additionally, the elderly benefit from guardianship after they reach a certain age, and it becomes difficult to take care of themselves. If the ward is a minor and their parents cannot care for them, a guardian can step in and ensure the child has everything they need.

Every state has its way of handling guardianship. In many states, guardianship and conservatorship encompass the same responsibilities. In other states, guardianship means having decision-making power over life and healthcare-related topics, while conservatorship relates to financial decision-making. And finally, some states use guardianship for minors and conservatorship for adults.

Guardianship can be a confusing topic, and you may not know where to start. To better understand guardianship, speak with a guardianship lawyer in your state.

Guardianship for Minors

Minors are appointed a guardian where parents become incapacitated and cannot care for a child, or a parent dies. The court may also appoint a guardian if a child receives an inheritance or if the minor has received proceeds from a lawsuit or an insurance policy, and the amount received is greater than the amount allowed by statute.

Sometimes, parents can choose their child’s guardian. For example, if a parent creates a will, they can include information regarding guardianship for their minor children. If the parent passes away, the court will consider the parent’s guardian selection. In other situations, parents may not choose their child’s guardian.

Guardians for minors must be committed to the position, as it typically entails considerable responsibility. Depending on the situation, a minor ward’s guardian may be tasked with any of the following:

  • Providing a home for the child
  • Enrolling the child in school
  • Deciding for the child’s life and future
  • Ensuring the child’s needs are satisfied
  • Managing the child’s finances or inheritances

In regular guardianship, the responsibility rarely ends until the child reaches the age of maturity, which is 18 in most states. Other events that may trigger the end of guardianship include marriage or death. Temporary guardianship often expires sooner, unless the guardianship is made permanent.

Guardianship for Adults

A Guardianship can be established for a developmentally disabled adult. Courts may also appoint guardians for adults who become mentally incapacitated and can handle their day-to-day affairs. 

The authority bestowed upon a guardian depends on the type of guardianship and state law. Some guardians are entitled to make all decisions for their ward, while some guardians are limited in the types of decisions they can make.

Generally, guardians have the authority to perform the following activities:

  • Ensuring the ward’s living arrangements are satisfactory
  • Handling the ward’s finances and maintaining assets and property
  • Making important decisions, including medical care
  • Ensuring the ward’s basic needs are met
  • Applying for benefits the ward may need

Adult guardianship usually ends at the adult ward’s passing, but may also expire if a ward recovers from their incapacity. Temporary guardianship expires sooner but could extend if the court sees fit.

What Is Temporary Guardianship?

A temporary guardianship is similar to a regular guardianship; the big difference is the length of time the guardianship lasts.

There are several reasons to file for temporary guardianship, including these:

  • Incapacitation: If a ward suddenly becomes incapacitated, they may need a guardian to make critical decisions. 
  • Emergency need: A judge can appoint a temporary guardian on an emergency basis when the ward needs a guardian quickly and there is no time to go through the full guardianship process.
  • Substitute guardian: A ward may need a guardian if their parent(s) or usual guardian cannot care for them for a short time.

Every state handles guardianship differently, and therefore may have its own definition and requirements for temporary guardianship. Discuss your need for temporary guardianship with a local guardianship attorney.

Temporary Guardianship for Minors

Temporary guardianship of a minor entails the child being formally turned over to another adult for care for a specific amount of time, usually six months or less. The guardian becomes responsible for taking care of the child’s needs, including medical decisions. Additionally, the Guardian would be temporarily in charge of matters concerning the child’s education, finances, and general upbringing.

Temporary Guardianship for Adults

Temporary guardianship may be necessary for adults when the adult becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to take care of themselves, their finances, or both. At times, it’s uncertain how long a person will be incapacitated, but loved ones and doctors expect it to be temporary.

Temporary guardianship is also often used where there is evidence a person has become mentally incapacitated or is considered an imminent danger to themselves, their estate, or others.

Who Can File for Temporary Guardianship?

The requirements for individuals seeking to become temporary guardians are similar to those for regular guardianship. While every state’s eligibility requirements differ, generally a person must meet these criteria:

  • The guardian must be at least 18 years old
  • They cannot suffer from incapacity or disability
  • They cannot have misdemeanor or felony convictions

Minors and adults rarely choose their guardians. For minors, sometimes the child’s parents may have a say in who files for temporary guardianship.

In any event, judges examine certain factors to help them determine whether an individual is a right fit for the guardianship role. 

How To Get Temporary Guardianship

The process for getting temporary guardianship is similar to that of regular guardianship. However, a judge will make their decision faster, especially if it’s an emergency. 

To seek temporary guardianship, you’ll need to fill out and file a petition with the court along with any supplemental documentation and fees. After filing, the court may schedule a hearing to appear before a judge, allowing the judge to hear the case, make a final decision, and appoint a temporary guardian.

In some states, you may achieve temporary guardianship without going to court. For example, in Nevada, if a temporary guardianship is necessary for six months or less, parents sign and notarize a temporary guardianship agreement, and children 14 and older sign the agreement, you can get a temporary guardianship without the court.

Speak to a guardianship attorney in your area to better understand how to get a temporary guardianship in your state.

How Long Does Temporary Guardianship Last?

Either the judge will determine the time the temporary guardianship is set to last, or you can look to state law. Often, a temporary guardianship may be sixty to ninety days or up to six months from the first appointment. But, if a judge determines that the need for guardianship remains, they can extend a temporary guardianship.

How Can a Guardianship Attorney Help Me Get Temporary Guardianship?

Pursuing temporary guardianship can be confusing and frustrating, especially if you’re unsure of the laws and procedures involved. A guardianship lawyer has the knowledge and experience to help you achieve the tasks associated with seeking temporary guardianship, including:

  • Choosing the right guardian
  • Drafting a petition
  • Filing court documents
  • Gathering evidence and documentation
  • Representing you in court

While hiring a lawyer is not required and you’re free to manage your guardianship case on your own, having an attorney on your side can help ensure your case is handled promptly and properly. 

Consider Working with an Unbundled Lawyer

One of the biggest deterrents to hiring an attorney is the fear of high legal fees. An unbundled guardian lawyer can help guide you through the temporary guardianship process while keeping costs to a minimum.

Unbundled lawyers can provide the same legal services as any other guardianship attorney, but services are “pay as you go.” If you’re comfortable handling certain parts of your case, your unbundled lawyer can handle the rest, and you only pay for services rendered.

Unbundled Legal Help fulfills a need for easily attainable, affordable legal services. We’ve worked hard to build an impressive network of skilled lawyers ready to assist with all your legal needs.

Whether you need minimal assistance or more extensive representation, we can connect you today with an unbundled lawyer in your area.

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