Guardianship 'Ohana Is Everything

Honolulu Guardianship Lawyers

Understanding Guardianship in Oahu and Neighboring Islands

When a person is no longer able to look after themselves, guardianship is enacted to provide them with the care they require. The process allows for them to maintain a degree of independence and continue their daily life with a level of normalcy as the guardians act as minimally restrictive as possible. They are present to act on behalf of the person under guardianship for matters they are no longer deemed qualified to do on their own. At Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC, we will help you approach guardianship for your loved one in a way that allows them to continue living a semi-independent lifestyle safely and happily.

Our attorneys will help you establish guardianship for your loved ones who need it. Call us today for help: (808) 518-6376.

Are Any Rights Lost in a Guardianship?

A guardian is intended to provide for the well-being of the person under guardianship. This care typically includes making important decisions on their behalf. The best guardians consider the wishes and preferences of the person in addition to their general well-being.

Still, even with a guardian acting in the person’s best interest and with consideration of their desires, certain other rights are generally forfeited, such as:

  • Voting
  • Marrying
  • Driving
  • Owning a firearm
  • Filing lawsuits
  • Making any real estate decisions
  • Deciding on medical or end-of-life treatment

These are all done for the safety of the person under guardianship. Even while giving up these rights, the guardian may help the person under guardianship live a fulfilling and enjoyable life.

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand how complex guardianship cases can be. To help our clients with some general knowledge, we have compiled a list of answers to some common questions we receive.

Who or what is considered a guardian?

A guardian is someone who takes care of another individual’s needs. They provide and help them receive shelter, education, food, and medical care. Additionally, they may manage their finances.

How do guardianships differ from adoptions?

A guardianship is a legal relationship between a minor child and a guardian that gives the guardian certain rights and obligations regarding the child. However, guardianship does not sever the legal relationship that exists between a child and their biological parents. Guardianship coexists with the legal relationship of the biological parents as opposed to adoption which permanently alters the legal relationship between a child and their biological parents. On the other hand, adopted parents become the legal parents and biological parents give up all parental rights and obligations. This means that biological parents no longer owe child support, and the child can no longer automatically inherit from his or her biological parents.

​How do guardianships end?

Several events typically trigger the end of a guardianship, such as:

  • The death of the child
  • The child reaches the legal age of majority
  • A judge determines that a guardianship is no longer necessary or beneficial for the child
  • The sole purpose of the guardianship was to manage the child’s finances, and the child’s financial assets are exhausted.

Guardians can also ask a court to be relieved of their guardianship, at which point the court will appoint a new guardian.

​What does the term “guardian ad litem” mean?

Guardians ad litem are court-appointed representatives who stand in the shoes of the minor during court proceedings that involve the minor in some way. This is common in divorces and disputes regarding estates, or any other situation where the court determines that the minor (or incapacitated adult) cannot successfully represent them. It’s preferred that the child’s close relatives be guardian ad litem, but an attorney may be used as well.

​If I am already a parent, would I ever need to become my child’s guardian?

Yes, if a child is left something in a person’s will, you may need to become the child’s guardian. Courts are reluctant to hand over financial assets intended for a child to the child’s parents. The concern is that parents will misuse a gift that was intended for the child. By setting up a guardianship you set in place certain obligations to make yourself legally liable for those assets and their management.

Contact our Honolulu guardianship lawyers at Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC for legal assistance establishing guardianship on Oahu and neighboring islands.

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