Carmel Guardianship Attorney

Representing Families in Complex Cases

All family law cases are emotionally charged, but guardianship cases in particular can be especially draining for everyone affected. You only want what is best for your loved ones, but with so much at stake, it can be difficult to see clearly and make decisions with an objective perspective. After all, when the care and well-being of another person are on the table, shortcuts are not an option.

Despite your best efforts to remain cool and collected, you may find yourself questioning your ability to handle the stress on your own. Rest assured that you are not alone in this, as many people struggle with the process of awarding or receiving guardianship of another person. When tensions rise and emotions cloud your perception, the experienced Carmel guardianship attorney at Hains Law, LLC can help you navigate the process.

Contact us online or call (317) 588-2883 to learn more about guardianship in Indiana and how our firm can help with your case.

e contact form today.

Understanding a Guardianship Case

Guardianship is generally awarded in one of three situations. Most guardianship cases involve a minor, a developmentally disabled adult, or an incapacitated senior.

Guardianship of Minors

There are a few scenarios in which a guardian might need to be appointed for a minor.

These include:

  • The death of both parents
  • Abandonment of parental responsibilities
  • Cases of neglect or abuse where it is unsafe for a child to remain in his or her family home

If a minor child’s parents die or become legally incapacitated due to illness or injury, then a guardian will need to be appointed to care for the child until he or she reaches the age of majority. In this tragic scenario, the best-case circumstance is that the parents have designated a guardian in their estate plan. As long as the estate plan is legally enforceable, the parents’ wishes will be respected – unless their chosen guardian declines to serve in the role. If no guardian has been designated, then one will need to be appointed through the probate process.

The probate process is also used to appoint a guardian for a minor child in cases where the parents are living but are otherwise unavailable or unfit to raise the child. As you might expect, these guardianship proceedings are often emotionally charged, especially in cases where the parents wish to retain custody of their children. Our Carmel guardianship attorney is experienced in representing all family members during this process. We can help you understand what you need to do to secure the best outcome for the children involved – which may include exploring alternatives to guardianship as well.

Guardianship of Developmentally Disabled Adults

As individuals with developmental disabilities mature into adulthood, appointing a guardian can become essential to ensuring that they have the help and support they need to live stable lives and maintain as much independence as possible. When seeking to establish guardianship of a developmentally disabled adult, the person seeking to be appointed as guardian must file a petition with the court.

This petition should contain information such as:

  • The nature of the adult’s incapacity
  • The approximate value and description of the adult’s property, including insurance and financial accounts
  • Any proposed limitations on the scope of guardianship
  • Whether the adult is currently the subject of a protective order or the ward of a previously appointed guardian
  • The names and addresses of the adult’s closest relatives
  • The name and address of the person or institution that currently has custody of the adult
  • The petitioner’s interest in being appointed as the adult’s guardian

These same factors are also considered in guardianship proceedings involving minors and incapacitated seniors. Once the petition has been filed, the probate court will schedule a hearing at which the petitioner, the adult, and anyone opposed to the appointment of the petitioner as the adult’s guardian will have the opportunity to appear. Unless the adult already has an attorney, the court may appoint an attorney to represent him or her during the guardianship proceedings.

Guardianship of Incapacitated Seniors

In many cases, adult children and other loved ones will need to serve as guardians for their aging parents and loved ones. If possible, it is generally best to appoint a guardian before the senior is deemed legally incapacitated. This appointment can be structured to take effect only if and when it becomes necessary. If your parent or other loved one’s condition has deteriorated rapidly, or if the necessary documentation is not already in place, Attorney Hains can work with you to ensure that an appropriate guardianship is established as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Handling Guardianship Cases with Care

Every guardianship case should be handled with care, as the outcome impacts both prospective guardians and wards. Ultimately, all three types of guardianship stem from a basic acknowledgment that the senior, minor, or adult in need of a guardian cannot properly care for themselves.

Well-being and financial stability are two of the main issues considered when appointing a legal guardian. Therefore, those seeking guardianship rights must demonstrate their ability to offer a high quality of life for the ward while ensuring their financial security for the future.

Attorney-Client Teamwork

When handling guardianship cases, Attorney Joshua R. Hains speaks extensively with each client to gain a better understanding of their circumstances. All cases are fact-sensitive, but guardianship cases are especially so. Thus, it is essential to begin the attorney-client relationship with clear communication and transparency. Our Carmel guardianship attorney works specifically with each client’s individual needs, but can only do so once all of the details have been presented.

After gaining a comprehensive understanding of the case at hand, Attorney Hains can begin to address each element of the case, offering insight and guidance every step along the way. Whether that means filing a petition, reaching out to the parents of the child in question, or waiting for further action, all clients are kept well informed of the progress being made.

What Are a Guardian’s Rights & Responsibilities in Indiana?

In Indiana, a guardian has broad authority and responsibility to make decisions on the ward’s behalf unless the guardian’s authority and responsibility have been expressly limited by the court during the guardianship proceedings.

In general, a guardian’s authority includes:

  • Entering into contracts
  • Consenting to medical care
  • Deciding where the ward should live
  • Managing the ward’s finances

What Are a Ward’s Rights?

In most cases, a ward will retain certain rights. If a guardian’s authority is limited, any powers not conferred upon the guardian will remain with the ward.

Wards have the right to:

  • Request a different guardian
  • Seek to terminate guardianship
  • Vote
  • Have access to friends and family

Potential Alternatives to Guardianship

Becoming someone’s guardian is a significant undertaking. While it will be necessary in some situations, there are also a variety of potential alternatives available.

Depending upon your loved one’s specific needs and his or her current medical condition, these options may include:

  • Informal means of support
  • Establishing a joint bank account
  • Executing a living will or advance healthcare directive
  • Executing a durable power of attorney
  • Obtaining a protective order
  • Pursing a child or adult adoption

Can a Guardian Quit or Be Removed?

Yes, it is possible for a guardian to quit and for someone else (including the ward) to challenge an existing guardianship order. However, unless and until the court makes a final determination, the guardian must continue to serve in his or her appointed role.

Some valid reasons to challenge or seek to terminate guardianship in Indiana include:

  • Guardianship is no longer necessary
  • The guardian is not fit to manage the ward’s finances or health care needs
  • The guardian is not acting in the ward’s best interests
  • The current guardian and a proposed guardian agree that responsibility should be shifted

An Experienced Approach to Guardianship Matters in Indiana

After a decade of experience in family law, Attorney Hains has navigated countless guardianship cases. This breadth of experience has situated him as a respected and trusted authority on family law matters. Integrity, compassion, and a commitment to client satisfaction are mainstays of our practice at Hains Law, LLC.

Call us at (317) 588-2883 or complete our online contact form today.

Contact Our Firm Today

We're Ready to Help You Move Forward
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.