- Application for guardianship is filed in the Probate Court of the County of the ward's residence by an interested party, or on the Court's own motion.
- Application must include a statement of the guardian's willingness to perform as guardian, a bond as required by law, and, in the case of a prospective incompetent ward, a statement of the ward's mental and physical condition from a treating physician, psychiatrist, or licensed psychologist.
- The prospective ward, as well as the adult next of kin, are notified of the impending guardianship and date and time of hearing as prescribed by law. In the case of an incompetent proceeding, the notice and a statement of rights will be served on the prospective ward by a Court Investigator.
- An investigation is conducted, in the case of a prospective incompetent ward, by a Court Investigator which includes an interview with the prospective ward in order to assist the Court in determining the advisability of guardianship.
- Formal hearing is conducted by the Judge or Magistrate to determine if a guardian is necessary and whether the guardian is suitable to serve.
Right of the Ward
The prospective ward has the right to be present at the hearing to contest any application for guardianship, to have a record of the hearing taken, to have a friend or family member present at the hearing, and to be represented by an attorney. A prospective incompetent ward has the additional right to present evidence of a less restrictive alternative, and, if indigent and requested, to have an attorney and independent expert appointed at Court expense.
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The Probate Court is the superior guardian, and all guardians must obey all orders of the Court. The Court exerts its supervisory authority through the following:
Accountings: A guardian of the estate must file a written account with the Court biennially (annually in V.A. cases) as to the income and expenses of the ward's estate.
Reports: A guardian of an incompetent ward must file a written report annually or biennially. The report identifies the status of, and need for the guardianship.
Citations: If a guardian fails to timely file a report, inventory, or accounting, the Court may cite a guardian to appear, and may fine, reduce the guardian's fee, or remove, the guardian.
Investigations: To determine if a guardianship is functioning properly, the Court may order an investigation by a Court Investigator, Law Enforcement Agency, Adult Protective Service, or other County Agency.
Prior Approval: The guardian must first obtain approval of the Probate Court before entering into contracts or leases, making improvements to real estate or mortgaging real estate, selling assets, settling any personal injury claim for the ward or spending the ward's funds.
Removal: The Court may, at any time, in the best interest of the ward, remove the guardian.
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Types of Guardianships
Person and/or Estate: A guardian may be appointed either a guardian of the person, a guardian of the estate, or both. A guardian of the person has custody of, controls, and protects, the person of the ward. A guardian of the estate controls and protects the assets or property of the ward.
Limited: A guardian may be appointed with limited powers to make restricted or specific decisions of the ward. The ward retains all powers not granted to the guardian.
Emergency: In an emergency in which significant injury to a prospective ward may occur unless immediate action is taken, the Court may appoint an emergency guardian for 72 hours.
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A guardian's compensation and attorney's fees are set by Court rule, and must be approved prior to fees being paid.
A Court order will terminate a guardianship upon the death of a ward, upon the ward being adjudged competent, or, in the case of a minor, upon reaching the age of majority (18). A Motion for termination of a guardianship of an incompetent may be filed 120 days after an appointment of a guardian, and once every year thereafter.
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|© PROBATE COURT OF CUYAHOGA COUNTY, OHIO
1 Lakeside Avenue West - Cleveland, Ohio 44113
216-443-8764 or 216-443-8765