When the court appoints someone to take care of another individual and/or their property, it is the legal proceeding of guardianship. The person appointed is called the guardian, and the person the guardianship is for is called the ward. Both children and adults may have a guardian appointed to care for them. Typically, minor children will be assigned a guardian when their parents die or are otherwise unable to care for them. Vulnerable adults, such as those with special needs or who are otherwise unable to care for themselves, may also be appointed guardians to ensure their needs are met.
There are three types of guardianship in Oklahoma:
- General guardianship - the guardian has complete control over the ward and/or their property
- Limited guardianship - used for situations in which the guardian is only given certain powers over the ward or the ward's property
- Special guardianship - used in emergencies and is generally temporary, lasting no more than ten days
Becoming a Legal Guardian in Oklahoma
Becoming a legal guardian in Oklahoma involves a structured legal process designed to protect and care for individuals who are unable to make decisions for themselves due to age, incapacity, or other reasons. Here's a brief overview of the steps involved:
- Petition Filing: To initiate the guardianship process, you must file a petition in the appropriate Oklahoma court. This typically involves providing information about the person in need of a guardian and explaining the reasons for the guardianship.
- Notification: Once the petition is filed, interested parties, including the individual for whom guardianship is sought, may be notified. This ensures that everyone involved is aware of the proceedings and has an opportunity to express their views.
- Evaluation and Hearing: A court-appointed evaluator or investigator may assess the individual's circumstances to determine if guardianship is necessary. A hearing will then be scheduled, during which evidence and arguments are presented to the judge.
- Court Decision: The judge will review the evidence, consider the best interests of the individual, and decide whether to grant guardianship. If approved, the court will issue a legal order outlining the guardian's responsibilities and limitations.
- Ongoing Reporting: Guardians have ongoing responsibilities, including providing regular reports to the court about the individual's well-being and financial matters, if applicable.
- Termination or Modification: Guardianships can be terminated or modified if circumstances change. The court may re-evaluate the need for guardianship based on the individual's evolving condition.
Becoming a legal guardian in Oklahoma is a serious responsibility that requires adherence to legal procedures and the welfare of the individual at the forefront. Seeking legal guidance and representation throughout the process can ensure that you fulfill your duties effectively and ethically. Our experienced Tulsa guardianship lawyer can help.
Guardianship Over a Minor Child in Oklahoma
When appointing guardians of minor children, the courts often turn to close relatives, such as grandparents, aunts, and uncles. However, parents may nominate a guardian for their children in their will, and this person does not have to be a direct relative. The guardianship goal is to ensure that the child and their property are physically, financially, and legally taken care of.
An appointed guardian has the legal right to make personal and financial decisions for the ward, including those regarding:
- Financial needs
- Medical needs
- Psychological needs
- Religious upbringing
- Special needs
According to a 2020 statute, when a minor child or children have been abandoned, a qualified relative may seek custody of the children in question. If you care for minor relatives who have been abandoned by their parents or need help seeking guardianship over minor relatives, call our family law firm; our compassionate Tulsa guardianship lawyers are ready to help you ensure your family is taken care of.
Guardianship Over an Incapacitated Adult
Adults who are either fully or partially incapacitated may also be appointed a guardian by the courts. Often, adults find themselves in need of a court-appointed guardian due to a physical or mental disability. It is not uncommon for the elderly to require a guardian at some point in their lives.
In Oklahoma, adults have the right to proactively self-appoint a guardian for themselves and their affairs. Many people incorporate guardianship plans into their estate plans. When a self-appointed guardian is not named, and an adult is incapacitated, another individual can petition the courts to be appointed guardian over the vulnerable adult.
The adult who is alleged to be incapacitated has certain rights, and in many cases, the courts will appoint them an attorney to act as guardian ad litem. The guardian ad litem advocates for the incapacitated adult and ensures their best interests are protected. David C. Fisher, P.C. is qualified to serve as guardian ad litem for both minor children and incapacitated adults.
Provide for Your Loved Ones with Help from Our Experienced Tulsa Guardianship Lawyer
Everyone deserves a stable environment. However, when minor children or dependent adults lose their parents or caregiver, that reliable stability can disappear. At David C. Fisher, P.C., we know how important it is to you that your loved ones' future is protected, especially when faced with the worst-case scenario. One of the best ways to secure your family's stability is by proactively appointing a legal guardian for any minor children or dependent adults.
Since 2002, our Tulsa guardianship attorney has helped countless families regain stability and peace of mind through professional guardianship services. We are conversant in all aspects of guardianship law in Oklahoma, and we can handle any situation. Whether you need help drafting a will that names a guardian or you are seeking to be appointed guardian over a vulnerable family member, our law firm is just a phone call away.
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"I have used David several times he as been very upfront, dependable and honest."Steve J.
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