“Once a guardianship is imposed, there are few safeguards in place to protect against individuals who choose to abuse the system.” Those are the words of the US Senate Committee on Aging after a 2018 investigation into guardianship.
That is a worrying statement if a member of your family is under guardianship. There are over 2,000 adults in Lucas County whose decisions lie in the hand of their guardians. There were 30 complaints filed in 2018, yet there is no-one employed full time to investigate these complaints. In other words, abusive guardians may be able to continue to take advantage of their powers for quite some time before a court challenges them over it.
When challenging a guardian, the onus will be on you to provide evidence to support your challenge. There are various reasons you could contest someone’s power over your loved one and their affairs:
- Abuse: This could be financial, physical, emotional or psychological.
- Neglect: A guardian has a fiduciary duty to do the best for their ward, which is the legal term for the person the court awards them power over. If they fail to comply with their duties, it could harm their ward, financially or in other ways.
- Overstepping their power: When a court awards a guardianship, it usually places limits on the scope of the guardian’s powers.
- Failing to share information: In Ohio, guardians must produce a report each year to update the court on their ward’s finances and wellbeing.
If you are concerned that a guardian is failing to comply with their role, seek legal advice. An attorney with experience in this area can help you resolve the issue faster. Being given control over another person’s life is a massive responsibility. A guardian needs to carry out their duties with the respect and integrity that the position and ward deserve.