A guardian is appointed by a probate court to serve as a decision-maker and manage the personal affairs of an individual who is a minor, mentally incompetent, disabled, or suffering from a physical ailment that renders them incapacitated or incapable of making responsible decisions. A court may create a limited guardianship if it determines that the individual in need of a guardianship, called the ward, may require help with only some of her affairs, restricting the guardian’s power to only the necessary areas or specific tasks.
Because guardians are often granted a wide range of authority, the court holds them accountable for their actions to ensure that no abuse of privilege or possible neglect is occurring.
For this reason, a relative or a trusted friend is typically appointed. Guardianships can be appointed on an emergency or temporary basis, as well as through a Will.