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The Law Office of
Stephen W. Wolf, LLC
26777 Lorain Road, Suite 709
North Olmsted, Ohio  44070
 



Elderly Woman Saved from a Guardianship

My client's daughter decided she had enough.  A local police department had been calling to complain about my client who had gone off her medication.  She was causing a problem in her neighborhood.  Daughter decided to obtain guardianship over her mother with the goal of removing her from her home.  My client was to be placed in a nursing home.

My client ended up in Lutheran Hospital's geriatric psychiatric ward.  The good doctors at Lutheran were able to determine that my client couldn't afford the brand name prescriptions she had been prescribed.  Generic prescriptions were available at a small fraction of the cost.  My client stabilized on the new medicine and showed no symptoms of her prior illness.

I was able to argue that my client's basic rights to determine her own affairs should not be removed.  After a second examination my client's daughter's attempt to obtain guardianship was denied.  My client was free to control her own affairs.  She returned to her own home.

Ohio Guardianship

Objecting to a Guardianship

Alternatives to Guardianship

  • Power of attorney

A power of attorney can be limited or broad.  It can allow another to completely control your life.  It can be restricted so that only one small task is given to the other person.

  • Social Security Representative Payeeship

If a person is having problems managing their Social Security of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, a representative payee can be appointed.  Even if there is no family or friends, there are qualified organizations that can help.

  • Adult Protective Services (for adults with developmental disabilities)

The local developmental disability board can help.

  • Adult Protective Services for the elderly

If in a nursing home, the Ohio Department of Aging has an ombudsman who can help.  Elder abuse should be reported to the county department of jobs and family services.

  • Protection orders

These orders keep people who are threatening or hurting another person away.

  • Trusts

A trust can be used to handle funds.  A trustee would be appointed to oversee the trust.

  • Conservatorship

A conservator can be appointed by the court to manage certain aspects of the life of a mentally competent adult.  If a person is mentally competent but has a physical disability, the person can ask the court

  • To appoint a conservator
  • To choose the person who will become the conservator
  • To dismiss the conservator
  • To specify what authority he or she wants the conservator to have
  • To ask the conservatorship be ended

Rights that are lost, and rights that remain with the ward

  • The guardian's decisions cannot be contested.
  • The ward can still obtain necessary items.
  • The ward cannot dispute that the guardian has the right to make the decisions.
  • The ward may make any decision not contrary to the guardian's decisions.
  • The ward may have a fundamental right to privacy.
  • The ward may have the right to control such decisions as whether to be sterilized.
  • Unless the court removes it, the ward has a right to vote.
  • The guardian can voluntarily commit the ward to a psychiatric facility but the ward can contest that and force hearings.  (See my commitment pages.)

Who cannot be a guardian

A person providing services to a person with a mental or developmental disability cannot act as a person's guardian.


The Guardianship Hearing

Format

Most often, the hearings are held in front of a magistrate and, if there is no objection, are informal.  Any objection will cause formal hearing with a court reporter, witness examination and argument.

Rights

  • The ward has a right to attend.
  • The ward has a right to have an attorney, and an attorney will be appointed if he or she cannot afford an attorney.
  • The ward has the right to keep his or her personal physician and certain other parties from testifying against him or her.
  • The ward has the right to an independent evaluation.

Termination

If the guardian is not doing a good job, the ward can appeal to the superior guardian: the probate judge.  Anyone can do this, not just the ward.

The ward can always ask the judge to order the guardian to do certain things.

The ward can request the guardianship be terminated.  The ward has the right to an attorney and an attorney will be appointed if the ward cannot afford the attorney. 


Adult Protective Services - the old age police

Adult Protective Services - the old age police


Obtaining a Guardianship

Obtaining a Guardianship


The Ohio Legal Rights Service booklet

Ohio LRS Guardianship Booklet     A local copy of that same booklet

Ohio Developmental Disabilities Council booklet

Ohio DD Council Booklet     A local copy of that same booklet