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Guardianship is the legal process of appointing the responsibility of a vulnerable or incapacitated person (often referred to as a ward) to a 'competent adult'.

A guardian is usually appointed when someone is unable to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the activities of their daily lives, such as:

  • Taking care of their own physical health
  • Providing food, shelter and clothing for themselves
  • Making their own financial decisions and managing their financial affairs
  • Making the appropriate judgments when it comes to protecting themselves personally, physically or financially

The duties of a guardian

A legal guardian has the same responsibility towards his or her ward, as a parent towards a minor child. However, a legal guardian must ensure that the ward's choices and desires are considered while meeting their most basic needs.

A guardian can act on behalf of their ward, making decisions that can affect their daily living arrangements, education, medical care, and social activities.

Who can be a guardian?

A guardian may be the spouse, parent, adult child, or relative of the ward, who has provided a residence for that ward for a period of over six months.

A private, professional guardian may also be appointed by the court if the ward has no family members who are able to serve as a guardian.

In cases where there is no person or organisation willing to take on the responsibility of a guardian, a public guardian will be appointed by the court in a guardianship proceeding that involves the following:

  • Preparing the documentation to request that the court appoints a guardian.
  • Arranging legal representation for the ward.
  • Appointing a medical professional who will determine the degree of incapacitation.
  • Appoint a court investigator to provide an unbiased overview of the request for guardianship.
  • If it is determined that guardianship is appropriate, a judge will make the final decision.

Guardianship of your own child

When a child turns 18, he or she becomes an emancipated adult, and you will no longer be able to make educational, medical or legal decisions on their behalf. You will have to go through the legal process in order to be appointed as the guardian of your child.

Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated - family lawyers

At Van Deventer and Van Deventer Incorporated, we specialise in guardianship services and the preparation of legal documents.

Let us help you protect your Ioved ones with simplified and cost efficient guardianship services. Contact us today.