Guardianship is a legal state wherein one person is given control over another person. In Arkansas, this can only be established through a court order and is only given if the ward is incapacitated, either temporarily or permanently. Here is a quick guide to Arkansas guardianship laws.
About Guardianship & Incapacity
Incapacity must be determined before a court approves guardianship. This requires proof the ward is unable to take care of his or her safety, finances, and health. Common reasons for this are excessive drug use, mental or physical disabilities, or abuse from an external source. Examples of external abuse include parents abusing a child or a caregiver neglecting a senior.
Once incapacity is established, then the courts can move forward with awarding guardianship. There are two types of guardianship in Arkansas: control over the ward and control over their estate. Guardianship of both person and estate is usually granted if a child under the age of 18 is receiving financial benefits.
Steps to Obtaining Guardianship
File a Petition
A petition must be filed with the court in the county where the ward resides, and a copy of the petition must be forwarded to the ward. The petition must include the date of the court hearing and relevant information concerning the ward’s rights during the proceedings.
If the ward is under the supervision of a doctor, psychologist, or social worker, then all records within the past six months can be obtained by the court to determine incapacity. If there are no records within that time frame, the courts will order an evaluation by a professional in the area of concern: physical, mental, or social.
Attend the Hearing
Once all the information is gathered, the court will hold a hearing to determine incapacity. The ward may be represented by an attorney, who can call witnesses, cross-examine witnesses, and present evidence on the ward’s behalf. A judge will either determine the ward is incapacitated and grant the guardianship or present an alternative to the ward’s care. If guardianship is granted, a Letter of Guardianship is provided to the guardian(s).
Obtaining guardianship over an individual who is incapacitated gives you the authority to properly care for the ones you love. Estate & Elder Law Planning Center in Mountain Home, AR, specializes in these types of cases and has earned the trust of their community. Their philosophy is built around providing a personal, one-on-one approach with clients to help them receive the best possible care. Call the Mountain Home office at (870) 425-2460 or the Marshall office at (870) 448-3600. Visit their website to learn more about their approach to care.