In Ohio, a guardianship is available for adults or minor children.
When an adult is incapable of taking proper care of himself or his property, the court may appoint a guardian to make personal decisions such as medical treatment, or may appoint a guardian to manage his/her finances.
A financial guardian of a minor child may be appointed if it is in the best interest of the child to do so since legally, parents do not have an automatic right to manage their child’s funds. An example is when the child receives money for personal injury. If the injury award exceeds $10,000, a guardian of the estate must be appointed. If a parent is not eligible, for whatever reason, such as an inability to be bonded, a non-parent will be appointed.
A parent can nominate someone to be the guardian of his child in a will if he should die before his child becomes an adult. By executing a low-cost document, a person has a voice in who will be appointed guardian of the persons who are most important to him even though he can no longer speak.
In order to initiate a guardianship, the person applying to be guardian must file an application in the probate court in the county in which the ward, that is the minor or incompetent, lives. In addition to the other documents specified by the court, the application must be accompanied by an expert evaluation completed by a physician or licensed psychologist recommending a guardian be appointed. The court investigator will visit the alleged incompetent adult and advise him of his rights, including the right to be present at the hearing and to have an attorney.
The probate court is always the superior guardian meaning that the court supervises the guardian it appoints, which it does by reviewing annual financial accounting; by requiring prior court authorization on all expenditures before the expenditures are to be made; by requiring bi-annual guardian reports; and by being able to take certain actions on its own initiative for the benefit of the ward.