Is Guardianship Permanent?

Guardianship of an elder, minor, or incapacitated adult is an important legal process that helps make certain that a person’s needs are met when they lack capacity to meet their own needs. The person who is appointed by the court to take care of needs and interests of the elder, minor, or incapacitated individual is known as the guardian. The person who lacks capacity and is being care for by the guardian is known as the ward.

Once established, guardianship generally remains in place until the ward passes away or is no longer a minor. However, there are cases in which it is better for a ward to have a different guardian appointed who can better represent their interests.In other cases, the ward may regain full control of their own decisions and eliminate guardianship altogether if they are able to prove to the court that they have regained the capacity to care for themselves. If you are a ward who wants to manage their own affairs again, or if you think a loved one is no longer benefitting from the care of their assigned guardian, then you might be wondering if and when guardianship can end.

How Can Guardianship End?

Even though many people believe guardianship is permanent, there are several scenarios in which guardianship to come to an early end or a particular guardian can be removed or replaced by the court. We have outlined a few of the scenarios below:  

  • The Ward Regains Capacity
    When someone lacks the capacity to take care of themselves, it is always possible for the person to regain capacity in the future. An elderly ward may receive treatment that restores their mental state, for example. A minor will be determined to have capacity once they reach the age of majority.
  • The Guardian Fails to Act in the Best Interest of the Ward
    Not every guardian assigned to a ward will be fully ready for the responsibility, nor will they all take the duties seriously. For example, a guardian who mismanages the ward’s finances or fails to care for the ward’s medical needs may be removed by the court as guardian for the ward and replaced by another guardian.
  • The Guardian Cannot Fulfil Their Role
    If a guardian passes away, relocates too far to reasonably assist the ward, or becomes incapacitated themselves, then guardianship may reassigned to a new guardian.
  • The Ward Dies
    The guardian will be released from their duties after completing necessary final reporting to the court when the ward passes away.

To end a guardianship, a petition will need to be filed with the court and a hearing will likely be set. . Arguing for the removal of a guardian is not always an easy endeavor, but at Finley Williams Law, PA we have a legal team ready to fight to ensure that the best interests of the ward are upheld in all circumstances.

Have questions? We have answers. Call (727) 280-6837 to speak with our St. Petersburg elder law attorney.

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