The process of appointing a guardian in Missouri

| Feb 25, 2021 | Estate Planning, Probate |

It is possible to appoint a guardian for a minor in your will. You may also be able to appoint a guardian for an adult who is mentally incapacitated. However, if you die intestate without a will, a Missouri judge needs to decide who will take care of your child, incapacitated spouse or elderly parent. Take a closer look at the steps a person must take during probate to be granted guardianship of a potentially vulnerable individual.

Submit the petition for guardianship to the court

The first step in the process is to submit a formal request seeking guardianship of an individual who is currently a ward of the state. A person could be a ward because a spouse, adult child or other primary caregiver suddenly passed on. At the time this request is made, you’ll need to provide the names of the ward’s relatives, the value of the ward’s estate and proof that an adult is actually incapacitated in the form of interrogatories from the ward’s physician.  If you are applying to be appointed as guardian of a minor child, you may have to complete a criminal background check.

You will be questioned during a separate hearing

A hearing will be scheduled to determine if you have standing to become a ward’s new guardian. You may also be required to answer questions about your ability to provide care to a minor child or incapacitated adult. If the ward is a minor, you will need to prove that the child’s parents are deceased, incarcerated or otherwise unable to provide for his or her needs.

There is a chance that multiple hearings will need to take place to ensure that you are a suitable guardian. It’s not uncommon for a judge to take several days to review the evidence presented during a proceeding and make a decision.

The death of a loved one can be an emotionally devastating event, and this may be especially true for someone who lost a primary caregiver. An attorney may help you obtain the legal ability to fill that role during a probate proceeding.