FAQs regarding Guardianship
How do you know if a service member needs a guardian?
A guardian (person or agency) may be appointed by the court to act on the service member’s behalf, if he/she lacks the capacity to make or communicate responsible and/or sound decisions regarding his/her personal matters. Guardianship laws and procedures vary from to state to state; however, various states have identified minors or adults with physical incapacity, chronic intoxication, and mental illness, as lacking decisional capacity.
What does a guardian do for his/her ward?
A guardian’s authority can be very broad or limited to making specific decisions, which is dependent on the ward’s ability to care for his/her needs. Guardians can help manage personal affairs, such as food, health care, housing, and financial matters. The appointment of a Guardian removes a person’s right to make decisions for him or herself; therefore this option should be used only when there are no less restrictive alternatives that will protect the interest of the incapacitated person.
For additional information on types of guardianships and/or to apply for guardianship, service and Family members should visit their local unit’s/installation’s legal assistance officer, or visit their state’s government website (guardianship is often listed under the state’s department of human services or health and human services).What is the difference between a guardian and a Non-Medical Attendant (NMA)?
A guardian is appointed by the court. An attending physician or surgeon and the commander or head of the military medical facility determines the need for a NMA and whether or not the NMA is appropriate in contributing to the health and welfare of the service member.
What responsibilities do guardians have toward the court?
The court will supervise the guardian’s care of the ward to include the financial management of the ward. The guardian is required to submit reports to the court, usually on an annual basis. If a guardian cannot meet the scheduled report submission, he or she must notify the court prior to the next scheduled report due to the court.
Are guardians compensated?
Normally, guardians are entitled to reasonable compensation for their services, payable from the funds of the ward. However, no compensation is permitted without a court order. This compensation is taxable income to the guardian.
When would a guardianship be terminated?
A guardianship can be terminated for different reasons. Some scenarios may include the guardian’s resignation, death of the ward, a ward reaching the age of maturity, ward recovering from the incapacity that resulted in the establishment of the guardianship or if the court decides it necessary to terminate the guardianship. A guardianship is never automatically terminated without a court proceeding or the filing of mandated documents to relieve the guardian.