If you have young children or are the parent of a special needs adult, it is important that you create a comprehensive estate plan that includes guardianship. Selecting a guardian for your child ensures that he or she will be cared for in the event that you are severely injured, incapacitated, or die. If your child is a minor, the guardian you choose will be responsible for your child’s welfare until he or she turns 18. If your child has special needs, you may choose a person to care for him/her beyond the legal age of adulthood. Furthermore, if your child stands to receive a sizeable inheritance, you may wish to appoint a guardian for him/her until the time he/she turns 18.
The Washington, D.C. guardianship attorneys at DiPietro Law Group, PLLC can help you with all aspects of your estate plan, including choosing a legal custodian for your children or working to obtain guardianship. It is important that you do not delay in appointing a guardian as, if you die unexpectedly without having selected a person to care for your child, the court will appoint one for him/her.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your needs; call (202) 902-9587 or submit an online contact form.
Obtaining Guardianship of a Minor or Special Needs Adult
As previously mentioned, when someone is no longer able to care for their minor child or child with special needs, either because they have become incapacitated or have died, the court will appoint a guardian for the child if the parent has not already appointed one. However, you may also petition the court for guardianship of a child. This can be a lengthy, complex, and costly process; it is a good idea to seek the guidance of an experienced attorney.
To obtain guardianship of a minor child or individual with special needs in Washington, D.C., you will need to do the following:
- Compile necessary documents and papers in preparation for filing your petition
- File your petition for guardianship with the court; pay any necessary filing fees
- Wait to receive your Notice of Hearing with a date for your required hearing
- Make sure the ward (the person you wish to be the guardian of) receives a copy of the Notice of Hearing and other filing papers in person within three days (note: you may not serve the ward yourself and the person who does so must be at least 18 years of age)
- Whoever serves the ward must complete and sign the Affidavit of Personal Service, which then must be notarized and filed with the court
- You may be required to meet with the attorney and/or guardian ad litem appointed by the court on behalf of the ward prior to the hearing
- Attend the hearing with your attorney (if you have one)
This process can be more complex and lengthy if the guardianship is contested or if multiple people petition to become a guardian. Additionally, in certain instances, the court may appoint a temporary health care guardian or an emergency guardian for a period of 90 or 15 days, respectively. This is typically reserved for emergencies or situations in which an individual needs a guardian immediately.
Contact our office at (202) 902-9587 to speak to our Washington, D.C. guardianship attorneys about your situation today.