Safeguarding Ohio Families
Age, disease or an accident can sometimes rob a person of the ability to care for personal or financial needs. Ohio law prescribes a method by which a guardian (of a mentally disabled person) or a conservator (of a physically disabled person) can manage the disabled person’s affairs under the supervision of the Court. An attorney can help the guardian establish the guardianship, set up investments, handle special actions (including the sale of household goods or real estate), inventory the assets, and make reports and accounts to the Court. An Elder Law attorney familiar with the area and the many resources available can assist in establishing a plan of care for nursing, housekeeping, food services, health and safety devices, long term care and other services available to help the aged and disabled.
The lawyers of Browning, Meyer and Ball can safeguard Ohio families with the following types of guardianships:
- Guardianship over the person for minors
- Guardianship over the estate for minors
- Guardianship over the person for adults
- Guardianship over the estate for adults
- Medicaid Planning in Guardianships
- Special Needs Trust Creation in Guardianships
- Special Needs Trust Administration in Guardianships
- Civil Litigation in Guardianships
- Adversarial Guardianship Appointment Cases
Please click to learn Frequently Asked Questions about Guardianship
Alternatives to Guardianships
1. Power of Attorney. For the elderly or the marginally competent, it is often advantageous and emotionally beneficial to avoid a guardianship. As many of us feel “incompetent” when dealing with technical computer issues, others feel equally unqualified to handle business issues, while others are seemingly incapable of handling more personal issues.
2. Conservatorship. A conservatorship is a hybrid between a guardianship and a power of attorney. Under a conservatorship, there is no declaration of incompetence. Rather, the elderly person appoints a conservator who would then be supervised by the probate court. The primary benefit to this approach is that there is supervision of the agent while the primary negative to this approach is that the probate court must approve all actions.
3. Living Trust. For those of greater means, a living trust may be created appointing a trustee to manage the financial affairs. A trustee may be a family member, bank, accountant, attorney or other professional. In the alternative, a family member and an accountant or attorney can be appointed as co-trustees to handle the trust affairs. Under this approach, there is no declaration of incompetence. Rather, the agency approach allows a third-party to handle the financial affairs pursuant to the terms of the trust.
Role of the Attorney
Where a power of attorney or a trust is in place, the attorney serves as a trusted advisor to ensure that the agent understands his or her duties and understands that the funds they control are not their own. The attorney can also assist in directing the agent to the appropriate professionals for purposes of investment advice and healthcare decisions.
In a guardianship, an attorney must be involved in all the courts processes as well as the accounting processes. Acting on behalf of a ward that has recently inherited funds, received funds because of an injury or who has been declared incompetent is a serious responsibility that must be handled cautiously.
If you have any questions on these or related matters, please contact Browning, Meyer & Ball for further guidance.