If you have someone you wish to care for, working with a family law attorney to apply for guardianship is an excellent solution. However, before you begin, there are some important facts to know about the procedure and regulations surrounding this process. The following guide highlights everything you need to know to successfully become a legal guardian.

What a Guardian Is

A guardian is a legally appointed caretaker. This is a person who, essentially, takes over as a parent-like figure for those who require supervision and assistance.  Guardians are usually appointed for minors or incapacitated individuals.  A guardian oversees matters such as food, health care, clothing, education, and shelter (guardianship of the person).  If requested, a guardian may also be appointed to oversee the individual’s assets and debts to ensure that the finances are being used for the benefit of the incapacitated individual or minor (guardianship of the estate or conservatorship).

When Guardians Are Appointed

family law attorneyIf the parents of a minor are unfit, unwilling and/or unable to care for the minor or if the parent consents to the guardianship, a qualified guardian may be appointed for the minor.  If an adult individual is incapacitated and unable to care in whole or in part for the personal well-being and/or finances, then upon proper application (including certification by a qualified healthcare professional of the individuals’ incapacity) a guardian may be appointed to make decisions for the incapacitated individual.

How to Apply for Guardianship

If you want to apply for guardianship of an individual, the first step is to hire a family law attorney. A petition for guardianship is filed with the probate court of the county where the incapacitated individual resides.  The petition will include information about the proposed guardian, the incapacitated individuals, other actions involving the alleged incapacitated individuals and immediate family members.  The goal of the petition is to provide the Court with information to allow the Judge to determine first if the individual is incapacitated and second if the proposed guardian is the best person to undertake the responsibilities  necessary to care for the ward.  When service has been made on all parties of interest and all necessary documents filed, the family law attorney will obtain a court date for a hearing on the merits of the petition for guardianship.  Should the Court determine that a guardianship is necessary to protect the interest of the incapacitated individual or minor and that the proposed guardian is qualified, it will enter an Order appointing the guardian and letters of guardianship..


If you’re interested in filing for guardianship over a loved one, turn to the family law attorneys at Watson Law Firm of Harrison in Arkansas. These skilled lawyers have over 35 years of experience, and they will utilize their knowledge and legal prowess to help you achieve the most desirable outcome in your case. Give them a call today at (870) 704-4037 to schedule a consultation, and visit their website for more information on their practice.