The Guardianship Procedure

The guardianship court process involves a number of people, at least one physician, two attorneys, the next of kin, and a judge who you do not know and who likely does not know you. This is a court case with all records and hearings open to the public. First, someone hires an attorney to file a petition with the court containing your personal and financial information. The court will hear testimony in a public proceeding to decide who will be the guardian to handle your personal and financial needs. As a general rule, the court requires a certificate of incapacity from a local physician.
 
Guardianships are costly, time consuming, and very public. Even worse, an unqualified person could end up being appointed on your behalf. Protect yourself from this situation by executing a power of attorney. The time and cost to obtain a power of attorney is insignificant compared with the alternative of a court ordered guardianship.