Sometimes there exist circumstances where a child cannot be cared for by their parent(s). Sometimes there exist circumstances where a child's property cannot be properly cared for or managed by their parent(s). When these circumstances exist anyone can petition the Probate Court for guardianship over either the person or the estate or both of a minor. The child's parents is still living are entitled to notice of the matter and if they disagree it becomes the burden of the petitioner to demonstrate to the court that the best interests of the minor require substitution or supplementation of parental care and supervision. Guardianships can be indefinite but by law they terminate upon order of the court, upon the death of the minor or upon the minor's eighteenth birthday. However, anyone at any time can petition the court to dissolve the guardianship at which time they must demonstrate to the court that substitution or supplementation of parental care and supervision is no longer necessary and that termination of the guardianship will not adversely affect the minor's psychological well being.
A guardian over the person of a minor is required to file a report with the court on a yearly basis that informs the court how the minor is doing and whether there have been changes in the minors residence, health, schooling, etc.
A guardian over the estate of the minor is deemed by the court to have a fiduciary responsibility towards the minor's estate. A guardian over the estate is often required to file a bond with the court to assure that they will perform their duties faithfully and honestly. If the guardian were not to perform their duties faithfully and honestly then the bond could be called forward and paid into the court. A guardian over the estate of minor is required to file an annual accounting of the administration and management of the guardianship estate (property).
Sometimes there exists a set of circumstances where an adult is either temporarily or permanently incapable of making decisions about their property as well as their own care. When these circumstances exist anyone (often a family member) may petition the Probate Court to become guardian over an incapacitated adult. In adult guardianships the court appoints an attorney to represent the proposed ward. The attorney generally serves the proposed ward with a copy of the guardianship petition and explains the process to them and assists them if they want to object to any or all of the guardianship. If sufficient evidence is provided to the Court the court will grant a guardianship over the person or estate or both of the proposed ward. The guardian will then be in a position to make decisions based upon the wards best interests. If the individual becomes guardian over the estate of the ward they will have to file a bond with the court to insure that they will perform their duties faithfully and responsibly. The guardian is required to file an annual accounting with the court as to how the ward is doing as well as file an accounting of the administration and management of the guardianship estate (property).
In 2014 Attorney Shea became a Certified Professional Guardian and has been appointed as guardian over the person and/or person and estate of adults deemed incapacitated to handle their affairs.
If you believe someone needs to have a guardian appointed to help them manage their affairs please call Attorney Shea to discuss the situation.
A Will is a very common estate planning document. It is a written document which directs amongst other things, the manner in which your property will pass at the time of your death. A Will can also provide for the nomination of a guardian for any minor children as well as a trustee/custodian for any property you leave to your minor children.
If you do not have a Will then the State of New Hampshire has laws that determine the distribution of your property. The laws of intestacy may conflict with your desired wishes as to how your property is distributed upon your death. The laws of intestacy only deal with how your property will be distributed and do not address who will take care of your children and any property they may inherit.
A General Durable Power of Attorney is a document where you elect an agent to act for you in matters other than your health care. A Power of Attorney can be limited or very broad in the powers it gives to your designated agent. In its broadest terms your agent is given the authority to handle all your financial affairs including purchasing and selling of assets, filing tax returns, accessing bank accounts, etc. Your elected agents powers will continue through any period of incompetency but their powers will terminate upon your death. You have the option when you sign a General Durable Power of Attorney to authorize that the Power of Attorney be held by your attorney until it is needed.
A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care is a document where you elect an agent to make all health care decisions for you when you are not capable of making the decisions yourself. In the document you make a specific designation whether your agent has the authority to make the decision to discontinue life sustaining treatment and whether the authorization extends to the ability to authorize the discontinuation of artificially provided food and liquid. You may make specific directives in your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care as well as choose a second person to act as your agent in the event the first person you choose is unable to do so. You should discuss your decisions and choices regarding life sustaining treatment and artificial nutrition and hydration not only with your agent but with your health care provider as well.
A Living Will is a document where you make known your choices that you do not want to be placed on artificial life support if you are certified by two physicians to be terminally ill or permanently unconscious. You may also express in your Living Will where you do or do not want nutrition (food) or hydration (liquid) to be given to you by artificial means if you are terminally ill or permanently unconscious.
The information contained in this website is intended to be for informational purposes only. It is not intended as specific legal advice. Every case is different and there is no warranty that this information is accurate or current. Because every case is unique you are urged to contact an attorney to discuss the aspects of your case and to receive advice specific to your matter.
Contact us today and schedule an appointment to discuss the type of probate
assistance you need, whether it be estate planning or legal guardianship.