Law Articles

Guardianships: How to nominate a guardian.

How does guardianship work in Ohio? The purpose of a guardianship proceeding is to protect the rights of a person who is unable to manage his or her own affairs due to mental illness, physical illness, mental retardation, or chronic substance abuse. Probate courts have the sole authority to appoint and remove guardians in Ohio.

But how can a person make sure that the probate court appoints their preferred guardian to manage their health and finances if the need arises?  Ohio law about gaurdiaship provides that the person may nominate a future guardian in a signed writing.  That way, the probate court will consider the nomination if guardianship proceedings are commenced at a later time.

To be effective, the nomination must be in writing and signed by the person making the nomination in the presence of two witnesses or a notary public.  Often, the nomination is contained within a power of attorney.  The document may be filed with the probate court for safekeeping, but it is not required.  

In the state of Ohio a guardianship nomination has some additional benefits:

  • The person may authorize the nominee to name a successor guardian for consideration by a court.
    • This is helpful if the nominee finds they are unable to serve.
  • The person can instruct the court to waive the normal insurance bond requirement.
    • This saves time and money. 
A probate court may appoint a nominee who does not reside in Ohio.  If there is no written nomination, a probate court may only appoint Ohio residents for guardians over finances. 

What happens if a probate court receives more than one application to be guardian for the same person? In that case, the court will appoint a nominee over someone who is not nominated provided that the nominee is competent, suitable, and willing to accept the appointment.  This situation often occurs when family members are fighting. 
Can a person change her nominee?  The simple answer is yes.  The person must make a subsequent nomination in writing. Except for good cause or disqualification, the probate court will appoint the person's most recent nomination. If the first writing was filed in probate court, it is important to file the subsequent writing so there is no confusion which document controls.
If you are looking to nominate someone to be your guardian in the future, it is important that you consult with a trusted probate attorney so they can properly guide you.  If a nomination does not comply with Ohio law, your desired guardian may not be appointed.  Laribee & Hertrick, LLP is here to assist you. 

Contact an Attorney in Medina, OhioThis article is intended to provide general information about the law. It is not intended to give legal advice.  Readers are urged to seek advice from an attorney regarding their specific issues and rights.

Need a lawyer or have legal questions? Contact Attorneys in Medina, Ohio from Laribee & Hertrick, LLP.


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