Establishing a Guardianship For A Minor

A guardianship of a minor is a legal relationship where one person is given the authority and duty to care for the minor's person or property.  RC 2111.12 governs guardianships for any person less than eighteen (18) years of age who has neither a father nor a mother, whose parents are unsuitable to have custody of such minor, or whose interests will be promoted by a guardianship.   Alternatively, a guardianship is granted to assure that the needs of the ward are met.  The person who is a minor and is receiving guardianship services is referred to as the “ward.”  The person who is appointed by the court to be responsible for the minor ward’s person or property is called the “guardian.” 

There are three types of Guardianships of a Minor:  

  1. Guardianship of the Minor's Person- This is typically granted when the ward’s parents are unable or unwilling to provide care and guidance for the ward or when the minor's interest will be otherwise promoted through a guardianship.
  2. Guardianship of the Minor's Estate - This is typically granted when the ward has obtained more than $25,000 in property and needs assistance with administration.
  3. Guardianship of the Minor's Person and Estate- This is typically granted when joint control of the ward and their assets are necessary.

The Court will appoint the guardian.   A minor over fourteen (14) may nominate a guardian and a child’s parents may nominate a guardian by leaving instructions in a last will and testament, or including them in a durable power of attorney.  A durable power of attorney containing a nomination of a guardian for the maker's minor children may be filed with the Court for safekeeping and be designated a nomination of a standby guardian.  The Court will appoint the nominee set forth in the power of attorney, except for good cause shown or disqualification.

The Probate Court is always the superior guardian, and all guardians must obey all orders of the Court.  The Court exercises the supervisory authority through accountings, reports, citations, investigations, Court Visitors, and removal proceedings.  The Court may request that the court investigator or Court Visitor perform a follow-up investigation and file a report with the Court.

The signing and filing of the Affidavit (Form 16.1) is jurisdictional in every minor's guardianship.  It must be completed fully and accurately listing the required addresses and all prior court proceedings involving the minor.  If there have been any prior case filings in any court involving the minor's custody or visitation, those proceedings must be described and a certified copy of the Order or Entry in that case must be provided to the Court with the initial filings.  If the Order or Entry is written in a foreign language, the Applicant should provide a translation.  If a case is opened and the Court thereafter determines the filed Affidavit is untrue or that the Court otherwise lacks jurisdiction to proceed, the initial cost deposit will not be refunded.

Items necessary to file a Guardianship for a Minor:

  1. Application for guardianship is filed in the county where the proposed ward resides;
  2. A certified copy of the minor’s birth certificate;
  3. The base court cost deposit is $195.00;
  4. Complete the applicable Probate Forms listed tbelow.

Items necessary once a Guardianship for a Minor 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 a Guardianship of a Minor

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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