Establishing a Guardianship for an Adult Incompetent

A guardianship is a legal relationship established by the Probate Court where an individual (referred to as “the guardian”) has the authority and duty to care for another’s person or property (referred to as “the ward”) due to the other person’s disability or incapacity.  RC 2111.01 (d) defines "Incompetents" as adults who are so mentally impaired as a result of a mental or physical illness or disability, or mental retardation, or as a result of chronic substance abuse that they are incapable of taking proper care of themselves, their property or their family.  Persons who are confined to a penal institution within Ohio are also subject to having a guardian appointed for their assets. 

Any interested person may apply to be guardian or an adult may nominate a guardian through a durable power of attorney.  The Court will make the ultimate selection of guardian for the ward.

The guardianship process for an Ohio resident is started by filing an application in the Probate Court of the county where the proposed ward resides.  Unless certain conditions have been met, the proposed ward must have been a resident of Ohio for six months prior to the filing of the application.  The applicant must agree to perform the responsibilities of the guardian and on occasion secure a bond.  A Probate Court Investigator will visit the proposed ward and will provide the proposed ward with notice of the hearing and provide an independent assessment of the person alleged to need guardianship.  Additionally, the applicant must obtain an evaluation by an appropriate expert, such as the proposed ward's physician, and file a completed Statement of Expert Evaluation with the application.  A hearing will be scheduled and a determination will be made regarding the necessity of the guardianship and the suitability of the guardian.

The person alleged to be in need of the guardianship has the right to be present at the hearing on the application for guardianship to show that a less restrictive alternative is available, to have a friend or family member join them at the hearing, to have an independent evaluation performed by a court appointed expert, and to be represented by an attorney. 

There are three types of Guardianships of an Incompetent Adult: 

  1. Guardianship of the Person—This is typically granted when the individual needs assistance meeting their personal needs.
  2. Guardianship of the Estate—This is typically granted when the individual only needs assistance managing their assets.
  3. Guardianship of the Person & the Estate—This is typically granted when the individual needs assistance with their personal needs as well as their assets.

The Probate Court is always the superior guardian, and all guardians must obey the orders of the Court.  The Court exercises the supervisory authority through the several means:  accountings, annual reports, citations, investigations, Court Visitors, hearings and sanctions when appropriate.

As a condition of being appointed as a guardian, any applicant who is not an attorney, or is not serving under Wayne County Guardian Assosiation, will be required to attend a free guardian training program taught by Court personnel within 6 months of being appointed and every year after.

Items necessary to file a Guardianship for an Incompetent:

  1. Application for guardianship is filed in the county where the proposed ward resides;
  2. The base court cost deposit is $195; and
  3. Complete the applicable Probate Forms listed below.

Items necessary once a Guardianship for an Incompetent is estalished:

If you are the Guardian of the Person, you will need these forms: Guardianship of the Person

If you are the Guardian of the Estate, you will need these forms: Guardianship of the Estate

Items necessary to terminate a Guardianship: Terminating an Adult Incompetent Guardianship

The information contained on this web site is not legal advice, nor should it substitute for the assistance of a qualified attorney. Good legal assistance can speed up the court process and prevent costly legal errors.

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