Families about to apply for legal guardianship are under a lot of stress. COVID-19 has amplified the stress they may face.
If you were considering applying for Guardianship for your child with a disability, elderly or incapacitated family member, it is important you know the court system is still open. It is still processing Guardianship applications.
The beginning of the process remains the same: You, or your attorney must file a formal application for appointment of a guardian with the Chancery Court in the county where your loved one resides.
That application must be accompanied by two doctor’s reports, using the court approved reporting form. If your loved one’s doctor is not currently seeing patients, the Court will allow the doctor to evaluate your loved one and complete the report by phone or video conference, and certify that the practitioner saw them by video or phone.
The two doctors’ reports and the application for guardianship have to be filed with the Court. Once the court receives it, an attorney will be appointed to represent your loved one. To keep people safe, attorneys are currently allowed to interview your loved one by telephone or by video conference. They do not need to come to your home, and you do not have to take your loved one to the attorney’s office.
Once a date for the hearing has been set, Judges are allowing the family members of the person with the disability, the person with the disability, and the attorneys to appear by telephone. The Judge will make his or her decision, and rather than forcing families to wait until they can complete the paperwork at the Surrogate to accept their appointment as guardians, the Courts are allowing guardians to begin acting for the benefit of their loved ones immediately, and allowing them to complete the paperwork after this crisis is over.
If you believe a loved one is in need of a guardian, contact Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. at toll-free at (855) 376-5291 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please ask us about our video conferencing consultations if you are unable to come to our office.
Written by Nicole C. Tomlin, Esq. of Hanlon Niemann & Wright