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Reputable Fort Wayne Family Law Attorney Facilitates Guardianships

Experienced Indiana firm provides reliable representation to help a child or dependent adult

Vulnerable loved ones need our protection. Unfortunately, we are often unable to provide the help they need unless we have legal authority to act on their behalf. If there is someone in your life who needs the protection of a guardian, Patterson Law LLC in Fort Wayne can help. We represent responsible individuals who want to become legal guardians for a child or an adult who does not have the capacity to live independently. Under the leadership of board-certified family law attorney Rex Patterson, our legal team provides professional advocacy that gets positive results.

Knowledgeable lawyers advise on guardianships in Indiana

Guardianship is legal authority to exercise control over another person or that person’s property. There are two types of guardianship in Indiana:

  • Of the person — Guardianship of the person gives the guardian authority to care for a person, called the ward, by providing food, shelter, clothing, guidance and other necessities for the ward’s general welfare.
  • Of the estate — Often called conservatorship, guardianship of the estate is legal authority over a ward’s finances.

Guardianships can be temporary and time limited. For example, a single parent can request that the court appoint a temporary guardian for a week’s time, while the parent undergoes surgery and takes time to recover. However, most guardianships last until the reason for the guardianship no longer exists.

In Indiana, there are three types of wards:

  • Minor child — A minor child may become a ward because of the death, incapacity or unfitness of parents. The guardianship can last until the ward reaches the age of 18, is emancipated by the court, or returns to the care of parents. A guardian of a minor child is not an adoptive parent; living parents retain their parental ties and may be required to provide financial support. If the parents are deceased, the child may have an inheritance or even proceeds from a wrongful death judgment. The guardian would be charged with managing those funds for the benefit of the ward.
  • Disabled adult — When a child with special needs reaches the age of 18, parents must apply to guardianship to maintain legal authority to act in the child’s best interests. If the parents pass away, the court can appoint another responsible adult to act as guardian.
  • Elderly adult with diminished capacity — Adult children of seniors who are declining due to illness or old age can apply to become guardians of their parents. Unfortunately, many older adults resent being put under their children’s care, so an adversarial hearing is sometimes necessary to impose a guardianship against the ward’s wishes.

The strategy for obtaining a guardianship varies depending on the circumstances of both the prospective guardian and ward. Our family law attorney is adept at reaching agreements, so that the court proceeding may become a mere formality.

Proven advocate assists prospective guardians with the appointment petition

A person wishing to become a guardian must first petition the court to grant a guardianship. The court holds a hearing to decide two issues: whether a guardianship is warranted and whether the petitioner is the right person to be the guardian. On both issues, the overriding consideration for the court is the best interests of the ward.

If a minor child is mature enough, the court can consider the child’s opinion of the proposed guardian. When an older adult does not want to be made a ward, the court may hold a hearing to consider the adult’s capacity as well as the would-be guardian’s motives. Each side is entitled to legal counsel.

Contact a board-certified family law attorney in Indiana for a guardianship consultation

Patterson Law LLC in Fort Wayne represents Indianans in proceedings to establish guardianships for minors and incapacitated adults. To schedule a consultation, please call 260-247-8383 or contact us online.

  • "Rex was very helpful and understanding of my situation. He was honest and upfront. For everything that he did for me, I am very thankful. I highly recommend Patterson Law LLC." - Hailee Gordon

  • "Rex is absolutely amazing at what he does! I have to say that his professionalism is above and beyond! You knocked it out of the park today my friend! I will speak highly of you and your staff to every single person I know! Thank you!" - Bryan Sanders

  • "I've been working with Rex for what it seems like forever now, he hasn't let me down one time! He works his hardest to get what needs to be done, done! I'd recommend him to anyone!!" - Megan Mitchell

  • "I would highly recommend Patterson Law to anyone! Everyone there is so professional and helpful! Rex took the time to get to know my case and handled it remarkably! Though I hope to never need their services again, I would most certainly if the need arose. Thank you to Rex and the entire staff! You are truly excellent stewards of your profession!" - Amy Gilbert-Koch

  • "Rex Patterson is a great person and lawyer! I would recommend this law firm to anyone looking for a straightforward no-nonsense approach to legal matters! I am very thankful that while sitting in a law firm in Ft. Wayne explaining my situation I was advised to go to Rex!! Best decision ever! Thanks again Rex for your calm approach to crazy!!!;)" - Abby Richards

  • "Rex is a great attorney. The clients we mutually served shared how Rex was a good attorney and fair in his pricing. Would highly recommend Rex for any of your legal needs." - Ron Nicolet Owner of Nicolet Counseling LLC

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