What is a Guardianship?

Written by Collett P. Small, Esquire on . Posted in Guardianship

A guardianship is the legal relationship that is created when a surrogate is appointed by a court to protect and exercise the rights of individuals whose disabilities prevent them from being able to make their own decisions and no lesser restrictive means of intervention are available. The person who is the subject of the guardianship is called a "ward". Except in the case of a minor, the ward must be adjudicated legally incapacitated and has had some or all of his or her rights removed. Rights which may be removed and delegated to a guardian include the following: the right to contract, to apply for government benefits, to sue and defend lawsuits, to manage property, to gift or dispose of property, to determine residence, to consent to medical or mental health treatment, and to make decisions concerning one's social environment. However, some rights such as the right to marry or to obtain a driver's license may not be delegated to a guardian.