When a person is not able to make decisions for him or herself, it may be necessary to pursue guardianship. Sometimes, this is because the person is suffering from an illness or a disability.
A guardian is appointed by the court and is responsible for the care and supervision of an incapacitated individual, called a ward. The guardian is also responsible for managing the ward’s property, including their assets and finances. They are required to periodically inform the court of the ward’s status.
Guardian decision-making powers
Unless the court limits the guardian’s powers, the guardian can make many important decisions for the ward. These may include entering contracts, consenting to medical care and decisions about where the ward lives.
In Indiana, the scope of guardianship may be limited to encourage the ward’s self-improvement, self-reliance and independence. Both the person petitioning the court to act as guardian and the ward can request a limited guardianship. These limitations can apply to the time the guardianship is in place and the degree and extent of the guardian’s decision-making authority.
Adults under guardianship can vote, request a different guardian, visit with friends and family and request an end to the guardianship.
Ending the guardianship
The guardianship will end if the court holds a hearing and finds that the ward is no longer incapacitated, when the court determines that the guardianship is no longer needed or when the ward passes away. Also, the court must also approve the resignation of a guardian before it is effective.
The guardianship process can seem complex, but there is assistance available to those who have questions and need guidance.