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The Cost of Caring: Becoming a Guardian: Finding a Guardian Angel!
Calling All Guardian Angels!
How to become a legal guardian, first things first. Are we talking about a minor or a legal adult? This does make a difference and are handled by two different courts. If it is a minor that is handled in family court and if it is an adult that is handled by the probate court.
If there is a minor involved then that is handled by family court. In family court there is no paperwork for you to handle like in probate, where you are given a list of things to have and do. In family court in dealing with a minor, you must first serve the legal parents that are listed on the birth certificate. If one is deceased you need to present your lawyer with a copy of the death certificate. Also, if there is another parent listed on the long form of the birth certificate they must be served or known of your intent to become guardian. This means you are attempting all rights and responsibilities for the minor. My new attorney advised me to call the school to see what they require of students during the enrollment process. As it turns out,
Once they will have 30 days to respond to the petition, where they can contest, etc. Then, they have five business days to send the document or for receipt of the document. Attorney fees as well as filing fees may vary from firm to firm and state to state. In South Carolina for example the attorney fee is 750 for their retention. Also there is the court fee of 150 for filing the petition as well as court costs. So, this is not an inexpensive process.
Ok, you may be wondering why would a legal adult need guardianship? Well, if you haven’t guess by now, if they are considered to be disabled. Now with an adult there are two options handled through the probate courts. You can either have them do a power of attorney. In this process you two meet with an attorney that will assess if the adult is able or competent enough to understand and agree to the terms.
Basically that they are fully aware of what they are doing. The second option and might I add the more expensive option is becoming their guardian. The fees behind this is for the power of attorney 125 and its rather quick. If you go through the probate process for full guardianship to file a petition is 150. Then, there are the court costs as well and the cost of retaining your attorney.
After you have kicked out at least a grand, that’s just an estimation, then you have to go through the actual proceeding and be placed on the docket. Also, the wishes of the child is considered as well as if any other closely related relatives that live in the area will want to be considered for guardianship, too. If this guardianship is due to death as in my case, you can request a special hearing, so that things may move a little quicker.
Also bear in mind that money talks, so the sooner you pay your attorney the sooner they will file necessary paperwork, etc. Also you will be asked to fill out a paper stating your monthly bills and income to basically show that you will be able to financially take care of the child.
These are the basic steps I have learned as I seek guardianship of my baby sister. I thought that I would share the things I have learned as I transition after my Mom’s death from being the cool older sister to a mother type figure to my teenage sister. I was clueless as to the process of probate court and family court. The closest I came to family court was on Judge Penny.
Now that I have to go through this situation I felt it was my duty to provide those with as much knowledge as I can. I was clueless and did the research. The sad part is for me I didn’t get the ball rolling soon enough, because of bad counsel. I don’t blame anyone we were all grieving Mom.
Guardianship is not something you should ever wait on. Feelings and emotions come and go and business still have to be handled, bills still have to be paid. There is a cost for caring. There is a dollar amount attached to becoming a guardian or power of attorney.
Fortunately in my situation my baby sister is worth way more to me than some court cost or lawyers salary. Her happiness is priceless as well as my aunt’s well-being. I hope this article aids anyone who is trying to become a guardian or seeking to be power of attorney or going through the probate or family court systems.
Apparently my initial attorney left some things out. Here is what I have learned, when dealing with legal matters first you must do the shop around. The shop around is where you look for good attorneys that have reasonable costs. Once you have done online research as well as a face to face meeting. You should make sure they are answering all of your questions. By shopping around, I have cut my costs by almost 65 percent from my initial visit. When seeking custody of a minor, it is usually in the State of South Carolina 1500. However, to become someone's guardian the paperwork costs 100. What a savings?!
Also, the attorney and I agreed that I should call the school and find out what was required of them in this unique situation, all they required was me to pick up a notarized affadavit from the school district. Therefore in this case guardianship was the best fit. Also, she gave me some pointers on handling the estates.
Tips for Handling Estate
When handling the estate, one must set up an estate account for the funds to be transferred to after the probate process. During the probate process, the judge notifies all creditors of the death, which runs three times consecutively in the local newspaper.
Staying in the Groove
Answers to FAQS
- Guardianship of Children - Nolo.com
Are you taking care of a child who isn't yours? If so, you probably have questions about how to enroll the child in school, whether you can make medical decisions, and what you're responsible for.
The Best Interest of the Child
- Get Help - Guardianship Information
Kids Matter Inc helps with legal guardianship forms. We are here to provide support to grandparents raising grandchildren or kinship families with legal guardianship information.