Angela C. Artherton

Caring and Client-Focused Advocacy

Understanding Guardianships

A guardianship is a court order issued to an individual giving that person authority over another person.  The person given authority is called the guardian. The ward is the person for whom the guardianship is established. Courts may issue guardianships over a person’s property, physical body or both.

At Artherton Law, you can find the representation you need to address your concerns or goals involving guardianships. I am attorney Angela Artherton, and I proudly help clients throughout northern Arkansas and southern Missouri areas with their guardianship needs.

How I Handle Guardianship Cases

In the case of guardianship over a minor, the parents’ legal rights are not terminated, and the parents may still play a role in their children’s lives. This may happen in the case of a legal issue such as a foster parent situation or in a voluntary issue where a parent is incarcerated or ill and unable to care for the child temporarily. During this time, the guardian has custody of a minor and the authority to make decisions concerning education, care, discipline and protection for the child(ren).

In order for a guardianship over an adult to be granted, the ward must be considered legally incapacitated. This can mean the person has a debilitating physical or mental condition requiring guardianship or even a chronic drug or alcohol addiction problem that is causing them to mishandle their safety and legal issues. Simply having financial troubles or an improper ability to manage money rarely signifies a reason for a judge to grant a guardianship order. Wards can be minors or adults (including seniors).

Types Of Guardianships

In Arkansas, there are three types of guardianships:

  • Person guardianships – This allows a person (the guardian) to make personal decisions on behalf of another (the ward). This authority can include but is not limited to handling personal care and living arrangement decisions.
  • Estate guardianships – This gives a person (the guardian) control of another person’s (the ward’s) financial and legal affairs. This guardian can have full or limited authority which is determined by the court order.
  • Minor guardianships – These types offer a mix of guardianship over both the person and the estate. These are limited, and children may have an estate for receiving Social Security benefits or civil lawsuit damages.

Because of the seriousness of all guardianship cases, an attorney specializing in these types of cases is highly recommended. Arkansas requires a person to meet the following four requirements in order to become a guardian:

  • A resident in the State of Arkansas
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Of sound mind
  • Neither a convicted nor pardoned felon

A guardian will never have 100% free reign over the ward, and several circumstances will still require a court’s approval before acting. These include:

  • Preventing doctors from attending to his or her medical needs
  • Spending money on major asset acquisitions
  • Denying the ward his or her right to get a driver’s license
  • Closing or transferring ownership of a business to someone else
  • Terminating parental rights and responsibilities over a minor

Securing guardianship over a person should be about being responsible for this person’s well-being and financial needs. A guardianship case should never be about power or control. The circuit court hears all probate cases, including guardianship cases.

Let Me Protect Your Best Interests

If you are looking for help appointing someone to look after your loved ones in the event of your untimely passing, contact my office today. Call at 870-627-3031 or email me here and schedule your initial consultation today.