You may have a family member with diminished capacity due to disability and/or old age. This person may harm himself or herself through self-neglect or an accident. Perhaps the individual is vulnerable to manipulation by a dishonest person.

You may be able to protect and provide for this person by becoming a guardian. The court can initiate a guardianship itself, or you can request an appointment from the court, which is more common. Guardianship can be either temporary or permanent. Temporary guardianships last only 60 days. The court issues them in emergency situations that pose an imminent threat but has the option to extend them if necessary. Permanent guardianships last indefinitely, although the court can terminate them.

Application

You can request the court to appoint a guardian by submitting an application and paying a fee. The application allows you to name the person whom you wish the court to consider as a guardian. If you wish to become a guardian, you provide your own name, or you can put forth the name of someone else. Providing no name means that the court chooses its own guardian without input from you.

Background checks

If you put forth your own name to be a guardian, you must submit to a background check. The purpose is to discover if you have a criminal history or whether there are any positive findings against you for financial exploitation, abuse or neglect. If there is a reason to believe you may have committed abuse, neglect or financial exploitation of a vulnerable person in the past, a background check reveals it to the court.