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The process of becoming a guardian

If an individual over the age of 18 is considered incapacitated, the state of Oklahoma may appoint a guardian to handle certain duties for that person. In Oklahoma, there are three types of guardians. A general guardian will have power to make all decisions for the individual and decisions regarding that person's property. Limited guardians will have the power to make some decisions for the individual and regarding that individual's property.

Finally, a special guardian may be appointed in an emergency. In such a scenario, the guardianship will typically last for a maximum of 30 days. Those who wish to become a guardian must follow the procedure to do so, which entails petitioning the court. In the petition, the petitioner must state why an individual needs a guardian and proof to back up that assertion.

An adult who is of sound mind may choose his or her own guardian in the event that he or she becomes incapacitated. When this occurs, that nomination is subject to a judge's approval. Prior to awarding guardianship, it may be necessary to do a background check of the proposed guardian. Additionally, a court may request to see evaluations from professionals confirming that an individual is truly incapacitated.

From an estate planning perspective, appointing a guardian while of sound mind may be a worthwhile decision. It may provide peace of mind to an individual to know that his or her personal safety and personal property are likely safe. Those who need assistance appointing a guardian or assistance with any other estate planning issues may wish to contact an attorney. An attorney may be able to ensure that all necessary documents are on file and that they are likely to withstand legal challenges.

Source: OKLaw.org, "Guardianship of an Adult", November 23, 2014

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