When an Ohio adult becomes unable to manage his or her own personal affairs, it may warrant the appointment of a guardian or an individual who agrees to take legal responsibility over the incompetent party. Because guardianships strip away some of an individual’s rights, only a probate court has the ability to appoint a guardian over someone else.
According to the Ohio Bar, there are two primary types of guardianships recognized in Ohio: guardian of the person and guardian of the estate.
Guardian of the person
The individual appointed guardian of the person over an incompetent party – also known as a ward – typically has the responsibility of making decisions related to personal care on the ward’s behalf. For example, the guardian of the person may decide where the ward should live and what health or medical services he or she is going to utilize. If the ward has minor children, the party named guardian of the person may also serve as guardian over those children unless there has already been another guardian named for this purpose.
Guardian of the estate
It is the duty of the guardian of the estate to manage the ward’s assets and financial affairs. This often includes paying off outstanding debts, collecting debts owed to the ward and moving the ward’s assets around to the appropriate places. The guardian of the estate may, too, have to file or defend lawsuits on behalf of the incompetent party.
The guardian role is often easier when the individual has ongoing and direct contact with the ward. It often helps, too, for the appointed guardian to maintain a close relationship with the family members of the ward.