Click here to view the most recent issue of Guardian’s Corner, Montgomery County Probate Court’s newsletter for guardians.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is guardianship? Guardianship is a relationship in which one person, called a guardian, is appointed by the Probate Court to make decisions and act for another person, called a ward.
- A guardian of the person makes decisions about the ward’s personal matters, such as housing, medical care, recreation, and education.
- A guardian of the estate makes decisions about the ward’s financial matters.
Who may be a guardian? A guardian must be 18 years of age or older and competent and suitable to act as guardian. A guardian of the estate must be a resident of Ohio.
Who may be a ward? A ward may be an adult incompetent or a minor.
- An adult incompetent is an adult who is unable to take care of himself or herself, or his or her property, as a result of mental impairment or illness, developmental disability, or chronic substance abuse.
- A minor is a person who is under 18 years of age.
When does a guardianship end?
- An adult guardianship of the person ends when the ward dies or is restored to competency, or when the guardian dies, resigns or is removed by the Court.
- An adult guardianship of the estate ends when all of the ward’s property has been properly spent and the guardian’s final account is approved by the Court.
- A minor guardianship ends when the ward reaches 18 years of age
The guardianship process begins when an applicant files a guardianship application.
- Applicants for adult guardianship file an Adult Guardianship Application Packet.
- Applicants for minor guardianship file a Minor Guardianship Application Packet.
Setting the Application for Hearing
After the guardianship application has been filed, the Court sets the application for hearing. If the application is for adult guardianship, the Court Investigator gives notice of the application and hearing to the proposed ward. The Court Investigator also gives the proposed ward notice of his or her rights. These rights include:
- The right to contest the application.
- The right to attend the hearing.
- The right to have a record of the hearing made.
- The right to introduce evidence of less restrictive alternatives to guardianship at the hearing.
These rights also include:
- The right to be represented by an attorney, and if the proposed ward is indigent, to have an attorney appointed at court expense.
- The right to have a friend or family member attend the hearing.
- The right to introduce evidence of an independent expert evaluation at the hearing, and if the proposed ward is indigent, to have a doctor appointed at court expense.
The Court mails notice to any other persons entitled to service. These persons typically include the proposed ward’s closest family members, or “next of kin”.
Hearing and Appointment
At the hearing, the Court reviews the guardianship application and hears evidence to determine whether a guardianship is necessary and whether the applicant is suitable and competent to serve as guardian.
After the hearing, the Court issues a decision on the application. If the Court grants the application, it will appoint the applicant as guardian. The guardian will sign a Guardian’s Oath and Fiduciary’s Acceptance and the Court will issue Letters of Guardianship.
GUARDIANSHIP FILING REQUIREMENTS
Guardians have a number of important responsibilities to the ward and to the Court – too many to list here. However, their primary responsibility is to make decisions for the ward’s best interest.
Guardians are also responsible for filing certain reports with the Court on a regular basis.
Guardians of the Person of Adult Incompetents
Guardians of the person of an adult incompetent must file the following reports, which are included in the Guardian of the Person Reporting Packet.
- Guardian’s Report (every year)
- Annual Guardianship Plan (every year)
- Statement of Expert Evaluation (every other year)
Guardians of the Estate of Adult Incompetents and Minors
Guardians of the estate of an adult incompetent or a minor must file the following reports, which are included in the Guardian of the Estate Reporting Packet.
- Guardian’s Inventory (within 90 days of appointment)
- Application to Release Funds to Guardian (before accessing the ward’s funds)
- Application for Authority to Expend Funds (before spending the ward’s funds)
- Guardian’s Account (every year)
GUARDIAN EDUCATION AND SUPPORT
Guardians of adult incompetents are required to receive guardian education every year. To help guardians meet this requirement, the Court offers fundamentals courses and continuing education courses. View more information and the schedule of classes.
Beginning FALL 2016, the Court will offer the following support services for guardians of adult incompetents.
- Application Review. Application Review will be held twice a week. At Application Review, Court staff or a volunteer will review the guardianship application with the applicant before it is filed. View more information.
- Coffee and Conversation. Coffee and Conversation will be held once a month. At Coffee and Conversation, the Court’s Social Worker will facilitate an informal support group where guardians can share their knowledge and experience with each other. View more information.
When the Court appoints a guardian for a ward, the Court becomes the “superior guardian” of the ward. This means that the Court is responsible for making sure that the guardian is making appropriate decisions for the ward. The Court does this by reviewing the reports that are filed by the guardian, as well as conducting face-to-face visits with the ward. These visits are conducted by students in accredited social work programs, under the supervision of the Court’s Social Worker, through the Court’s Probate Partners program. For more information about the Probate Partners program, click here or call 937-496-7041.
Any complaints about a guardian must be filed in person, by mail or by fax, using the Guardianship Complaint form. The Court does not accept complaints by email or telephone.
FILING FORMS AND PAYING FILING FEES
Forms may be filed in person at the Clerk’s Office at 41 North Perry Street, 2nd Floor, Dayton, Ohio, 45402.
Forms also may be filed by mailing them to Montgomery County Probate Court, 41 North Perry Street, PO Box 972, Dayton, Ohio, 45422. Please include a self-addressed stamped envelope with the forms, as well as your phone number, return address, and email address, if you have one.
Filing fees must be paid at the time of filing. A schedule of costs is available here. The Court accepts:
- Money Orders
- Cashier’s Checks
- Visa, American Express, Discover, and MasterCard credit and debit cards, with a convenience fee of $1.80 per transaction
A FINAL REMINDER…
Please remember that the employees of the Court are not allowed to give legal advice. This means that they cannot give a guardian advice that is specific to the guardian’s case.
If a guardian needs case-specific advice, he or she is strongly encouraged to consult with an attorney who is experienced in guardianship matters.