Frequently Asked Questions
Can I act as a guardian for my loved one?
If you have not been convicted of a felony, then you may be able to act as guardian for your loved one. However, simply because you bring your loved one’s needs before the Court does not guarantee that 1) the Court will find a lack of capacity, or 2) even if the Court does find that your loved one lacks capacity, that you will be appointed the legal guardian. Family dynamics are often complicated, especially when someone in the family has a debilitating illness or injury. While family members can (and often are) appointed as guardians, the Court’s focus is always the best interests of the person in need of help. Sometimes the Court will appoint a professional guardian (also called a “fee-for-service” guardian) or even a public agency to serve as the guardian. Whatever the situation, the experienced attorney at Elle Van Dahlgren Law, LLC can help you understand the process, make it as simple as possible, and advocate for you and the best interests of your loved one.
What if I don’t agree that someone needs a guardian or the petitioner should be the guardian?
If you disagree with the proposed appointment of a guardian over someone you care about, you have avery limited time to object and avoid the appointment of that guardian. We recommend that you seek the advice of an experienced adult guardianship attorney like Elle Van Dahlgren immediately to discuss your options and the situation in general. Many attorneys in Delaware refuse to represent parties in contested guardianships, so it is important that you begin contacting attorneys immediately.
Do I really need a lawyer to petition for guardianship?
The guardianship process in Delaware is nuanced and particular. The Court has very specific rules that you must follow, and they can be daunting for a lot of people. An experienced guardianship lawyer can help you navigate those rules and, in many cases, help you avoid hurdles you didn’t even know were coming. In addition, if the guardianship is “contested” (meaning that there is disagreement among the family or other interested parties as to whether a guardianship is needed or who should be the guardian), an experienced lawyer is critical to ensure that your voice is heard at the full evidentiary hearing on the matter. These types of cases can take months and even years to resolve, and having someone with experience on your side and who you trust to help navigate the Court’s process is extremely valuable.
I just received a notice from the Court of Chancery that I have to file an Annual Update and Accounting in my guardianship matter. Now what?
The Court of Chancery requires that every guardian file an annual update relating to the continued need for a guardianship. This update tells the Court about the person in need (sometimes called the “protected person” or the “ward”) and the guardian to ensure that the person in need is being well cared for.
The Court of Chancery also requires an annual accounting in some guardianship cases where the protected person owns assets or has income over about $1,000. The documentation required for this accounting is detailed, and the process of preparing it can be daunting. If you would like assistance preparing the annual update and accounting, or if you would just like a lawyer to review it before you file it on your own, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss this with you further.
To make an appointment, please contact Elle Van Dahlgren Law, LLC by calling 302-407-5009 today.