Guardianship is a type of legal tool that allows a third party—often a family member—to aid individuals who lack the legal capacity to manage their own affairs. Guardians can make medical and financial decisions on behalf of their loved one. With the assistance of a practiced trusts and estates attorney, guardianship could greatly improve the life of a person with a significant disability.

If you believe guardianship might be in the best interest of your loved one, reach out to our dedicated legal team today. A Boston guardianship lawyer could help you ensure your loved one has a legal guardian looking out for their best interests.

Understanding Guardianship

Guardianship is the power for a third party to make critical decisions for someone else. A guardian stands in the shoes of that person and makes vital decisions about their finances or medical care.

You must be at least 18 years of age to serve as a guardian. If the court appoints you as the guardian of a child, you must post a bond to protect against misuse of the minor’s assets.

Guardians have the power to spend their ward’s money on things like medical care, food, and education. As a guardian, you can also oversee Social Security Disability and other government benefits the child qualifies for.

The court monitors each guardian, requiring you to file something called the “Annual Report of Guardian of a Minor.” This document must be filed on each anniversary of the date you begin serving as a guardian. A skilled attorney could help ensure that you file the necessary documents within the timeline required by Massachusetts law

When a Guardian is Required

There are different circumstances where a child might require a legal guardian. Guardianship is appropriate in cases where both parents have passed away or otherwise abandoned the child. Guardianship is also an option when courts deem parents unfit to care for a minor.

Unfitness comes in many forms. Drug or alcohol dependency, along with child abuse, can deem a parent unsuitable to care for a child. A parent is also considered unfit when they fail to meet a child’s basic needs. Malnutrition, school truancy, or chronic illness could be signs that a parent cannot care for a child. A guardianship attorney in Boston could advise you on other circumstances that qualify as unfitness.

Appointing a Guardian in Boston

The manner of appointing a guardian begins with the filing of a petition. A guardianship attorney typically prepares a petition, and there is no fee required to file. Parents who feel they cannot care for a child can also petition the court for a guardian.

You must file the petition in the Probate and Family court for the county where the child resides. The person seeking guardianship must serve the petition on all interested parties, including the parents, the child themselves if they are 14 years of age, and any existing guardians. If these parties contest the guardianship, the court will make a final decision following a hearing.

Talk to a Boston Guardianship Attorney Today

If a loved one in your life is unable to meet their own basic needs, guardianship might be appropriate. This process can be complex, which is why it is best to pursue this action with the help of a seasoned attorney.

A Boston guardianship lawyer could guide you through the process and ensure that the best interests of your loved one are protected. Call now to get started.