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How and why do I become my relative's legal guardian?

The term "legal guardian" may seem simple, but the implications of that title and its responsibility can be vital and complex. Connecticut assigns guardianships very carefully, and applicants for the position should know how the state does so.

Why do guardianships exist?

The legal definition of an adult is a person aged 18 years or above, but some individuals cannot necessarily handle their own affairs after becoming an adult. The main reason an adult cannot manage on his or her own is an intellectual disability. If a parent or other relative wants to manage for this person, a legal guardianship is required.

How and when does a person become a guardian?

If a person who requires a guardian is already an adult age, the potential guardian may apply right away. The process may begin while a person is a minor, but the matter of guardianship can only be decided once the person turns 18 and becomes an adult. An application form is the first step, followed by evaluations of the person who may require a guardian.

What is the proper venue to apply for guardianship?

Connecticut requires these matters be handled by a probate court with jurisdiction over the person who is the subject of the hearing. A probate judge's ruling will include the type of guardianship that a person requires depending on the intensity of a disability's restrictions on everyday life.

Do I need a lawyer in probate court?

Applicants in probate court do not require an attorney, but their case may go easier and be more successful with legal representation. All subjects of probate hearings are entitled to a lawyer.

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