In this article...
- A guardian of the estate in Wisconsin is responsible for managing a ward’s assets, making financial decisions, and providing reports to the court.
- The appointment process for standby guardians requires filing a petition, an investigation by a Guardian ad Litem and court approval.
- Guardianships can be terminated when the ward regains capacity or passes away. Specific forms & procedures must be followed.
Navigating the complex world of guardianship in Wisconsin can be a daunting task, especially when it involves the future well-being of a loved one. Understanding the role of a guardian of the estate and the different types of guardianships available can significantly affect the person’s life under guardianship. In this blog post, we will explore “what does a guardian of the estate do in Wisconsin,” including the responsibilities of managing assets, making financial decisions, and reporting to the court. Let’s embark on this journey together to ensure the best possible outcome for those in need of a guardian.
Understanding the Role of a Guardian of the Estate in Wisconsin
A guardian of the estate in Wisconsin is an individual appointed by the court to oversee the financial affairs and assets of a ward, whether it be a minor or an incapacitated adult. Guardians of the estate play a crucial role in the lives of those they are entrusted to protect. They are responsible for managing the ward’s assets, making financial decisions, and providing reports to the court during a guardianship proceeding.
In this section, we will delve deeper into the specific responsibilities of a guardian of the estate, including managing the ward’s assets, making financial decisions, and court reporting requirements.
Managing the Ward’s Assets
One of the primary responsibilities of a guardian of the estate is to maintain an accurate and complete inventory of the ward’s assets. This inventory should include a wide range of assets such as cash, bank accounts, stocks, real estate, vehicles, and even interests in a life estate, all valued at their fair market value. This thorough understanding of the ward’s assets allows the guardian to make informed financial decisions on behalf of the ward.
It is essential for the guardian to file this inventory within 60 days of appointment or by the date stipulated by the court. Failure to do so may result in the court issuing an Order to Show Cause, which could lead to the guardian’s removal. If the guardian is unable to file the inventory within the given timeframe, they can seek an Extension of Time to File from the Probate Office before the inventory is due.
Maintaining an accurate inventory is vital to ensuring the proper management of the Ward’s assets.
Making Financial Decisions
A guardian of the estate has the authority to make financial decisions on behalf of the ward, such as paying bills, investing money, and managing property. The extent of the guardian’s powers is determined by the court order that establishes the guardianship. It is the guardian’s responsibility to act in the best interests of the ward while making these financial decisions, ensuring that the ward’s needs are met, and their assets are protected.
Some financial decisions may require court approval, depending on the nature of the decision and the specific powers granted to the guardian by the court. For instance, selling or transferring real property may necessitate prior approval from the court. As a guardian of the estate, it is vital to understand the extent of your powers and seek court approval when necessary to ensure compliance with the court order and safeguard the ward’s assets.
Court Reporting Requirements
Guardians of the estate in Wisconsin are required to submit annual reports and accounts to the court, providing an overview of the ward’s financial status and the ward’s property. These reports help the court ensure that the guardian is managing the ward’s assets responsibly and acting in the ward’s best interests.
The annual accounting must be completed by April 15 of each year. It should represent information for the previous calendar year. Guardians can acquire the requisite accounting and report forms by accessing a link or by getting in touch with their local Register in Probate.
It is crucial for guardians to be diligent in submitting accurate and timely reports to the court, as this allows the court to monitor the guardianship and intervene when necessary to protect the ward’s interests.
The Guardianship Process in Wisconsin
The guardianship process in Wisconsin is designed to ensure that the best interests of the ward are protected and that the guardian is equipped to handle their responsibilities effectively. The process involves filing a petition, working with a Guardian ad Litem, and obtaining court approval and Letters of Guardianship.
In this section, we will discuss each step of the process in more detail, providing you with the necessary information to navigate the guardianship system in Wisconsin.
Filing a Petition
The first step in initiating a guardianship proceeding in Wisconsin is to complete the required paperwork and submit it to the Register in Probate Office in the county of residence of the ward. This paperwork includes a petition for the appointment of a guardian, as well as any necessary supporting documentation.
Once the petition is filed, the court will review the application and determine whether guardianship is necessary. It is crucial to file the petition within the required time frame, as failure to do so may result in the court rejecting the petition. Ensuring that the petition is accurate and submitted in a timely manner is essential for a successful guardianship application.
Protective Placement and Guardian ad Litem
Protective placement and the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem are essential components of the guardianship process in Wisconsin. Protective placement ensures that individuals under guardianship receive necessary care and supervision in licensed facilities while making sure the placement is the least restrictive option for the individual.
A Guardian ad Litem is an attorney who acts as an advocate for the ward in court proceedings, presenting the ward’s best interests to the court. Their role is crucial in ensuring that the ward’s rights are adequately represented and that guardianship is established in the most suitable manner.
Working with a Guardian ad Litem is an integral part of the guardianship process in Wisconsin, as it helps the court make informed decisions about the ward’s care and supervision. If you still have questions regarding Guardian Ad Litem, read our article, What is a Guardian Ad Litem in Wisconsin?
Obtaining Court Approval and Letters of Guardianship
Once the petition has been filed and reviewed by the court, the next step is obtaining court approval and Letters of Guardianship. Court approval and Letters of Guardianship are official documents that grant the guardian legal authority to act on behalf of the ward.
The process of obtaining court approval and Letters of Guardianship involves submitting the petition to the court and attending a hearing. Upon completion of the hearing, the court will issue the court approval and Letters of Guardianship, granting the guardian the necessary authority to carry out their duties and responsibilities on behalf of the ward.
Types of Guardianship: Temporary vs. Permanent
In Wisconsin, there are two primary types of guardianships: temporary and permanent. Temporary guardianship is typically sought when a child requires specific care or services for a short period, often within a tight timeframe. On the other hand, permanent guardianship provides a more stable, long-term arrangement for the care and decision-making of the ward.
In this section, we will discuss the differences between temporary and permanent guardianship in more detail, helping you determine which type of guardianship is most appropriate for your situation.
Temporary guardianship provides short-term care and decision-making authority for the ward, often needed when the ward’s parents or legal guardians are temporarily unable to provide care, custody, and control. This type of guardianship is valid for 60 days, with the option to extend it for an additional 60 days if necessary.
The guardian’s responsibilities as a temporary guardian include making decisions regarding the care and finances of the ward, as well as ensuring the ward’s physical and emotional needs are met.
Temporary guardianship can be terminated by the court or the guardian themselves if they are unable to fulfill their duties or if the ward’s parents or legal guardians are once again able to provide care. This process is different from minor guardianship, which has its own set of rules and regulations.
Permanent guardianship, though not truly permanent when it comes to the guardianship of a minor, offers long-term care and decision-making authority for the ward. A permanent guardian assumes the roles and responsibilities of a parent for a minor child or an incapacitated adult for an extended period, providing a secure and stable living situation.
The roles and responsibilities of a permanent guardian include making decisions regarding the ward’s health, education, and welfare, as well as managing the ward’s assets, making financial decisions, and reporting to the court. Permanent guardianship can be terminated for various reasons, such as the ward’s death, the ward attaining the age of majority, or the court revoking the guardianship.
Standby Guardianship in Wisconsin
Standby guardianship is a unique form of guardianship in Wisconsin that allows for a pre-appointed guardian to step in when the current guardian is no longer able to serve. This type of guardianship ensures a smooth transition in case of unforeseen circumstances, providing continuity of care for the ward.
In this section, we will discuss the appointment process and the roles and responsibilities of a standby guardian in Wisconsin.
The process for appointing a standby guardian in Wisconsin involves filing a petition with the court and obtaining court approval. Once the petition has been submitted and reviewed by the court, a Guardian ad Litem will be appointed to investigate the situation and provide a recommendation to the court.
Upon receiving the Guardian ad Litem’s recommendation, the court will assess the petition and make a determination. If the court approves the petition, the standby guardian will be issued Letters of Guardianship, granting them the legal authority to assume guardianship responsibilities in the event the current guardian is unable to fulfill their duties.
Role and Responsibilities
The roles and responsibilities of a standby guardian in Wisconsin are similar to those of a regular guardian, but they only come into effect when the current guardian is no longer able to serve. Standby guardians are responsible for making decisions and providing care for the ward, just as a regular guardian would.
However, it is essential to note that standby guardians only have guardian authority or responsibilities once they are called upon to assume guardianship. When the need arises, the standby guardian steps in and assumes the role of the guardian, ensuring a seamless transition and continuity of care for the ward.
Filing Fees and Expenses for Guardianship Proceedings
Filing fees and expenses for guardianship proceedings in Wisconsin include court fees and potential reimbursement or compensation for the guardian. In this section, we will discuss the various fees and expenses associated with guardianship proceedings.
Options for reimbursement and compensation for guardians will also be discussed.
The filing fee for guardianship proceedings in Wisconsin is $20.00 for assets totaling $50,000 or less. If the assets exceed $50,000, the fee may vary. These fees are subject to change depending on the type of guardianship and the value of the ward’s estate.
It is important to be aware of the filing fees associated with guardianship proceedings, as these costs can impact the overall expenses related to establishing guardianship. Understanding the fees and how they may vary based on the type of guardianship and the value of the ward’s estate can help you budget accordingly and ensure a smooth guardianship process.
Reimbursement and Compensation
Guardians in Wisconsin may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable expenses incurred in the execution of their duties, as well as compensation for their time and effort in fulfilling their responsibilities. However, all fees must be authorized by the judge before being remunerated.
The court will take into account the guardian’s reasonable expenses and the amount of time invested in fulfilling their responsibilities when determining the amount of reimbursement and compensation. Guardians must submit an application to the court for reimbursement and/or compensation, and the court will assess the request and make a decision.
Termination of Guardianship in Wisconsin
Termination of guardianship in Wisconsin can occur for various reasons related to a person’s life, such as the ward regaining capacity, reaching adulthood, or experiencing the ward’s death.
In this section, we will discuss the specific reasons for termination, as well as the forms and procedures required to terminate guardianship.
Reasons for Termination
There are several grounds for termination of guardianship in Wisconsin. These include a petition from the current guardian or parent of the child, the death of the ward, and mistreatment or abuse by the guardian. The court may also terminate guardianship if it determines that the petitioner has established the allegations in the petition by a preponderance of the evidence.
It is essential to understand the various reasons for termination, as this can help you anticipate potential changes in the guardianship arrangement and ensure that the ward’s best interests are always prioritized.
Termination Forms and Procedures
To terminate a guardianship in Wisconsin, a Petition for Termination of Guardianship of the Person and/or Estate must be filed. The necessary forms and procedures can be found on the Wisconsin Court System website.
Once the forms have been submitted, the court will issue the discharge order, concluding the guardianship. Understanding the forms and procedures required for termination can help ensure a smooth transition for the ward and all parties involved.
Navigating the world of guardianship in Wisconsin can be complex, but with a thorough understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a guardian of the estate, the different types of guardianships available, and the processes involved in establishing and terminating guardianship, you can confidently make informed decisions to protect the best interests of your loved ones. Remember, knowledge is power, and being well-informed about guardianship in Wisconsin will empower you to make the right choices for the people you care for the most. For the most up-to-date information on Wisconsin guardianship, check out 2023 Wisconsin Guardianship Law Updates.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the duties of a guardian in Wisconsin?
In Wisconsin, a guardian’s duty is to strive to understand and respect the person they are caring for while also having final decision-making authority on their behalf. They are responsible for making decisions, giving consent, and acting as an advocate.
Do guardians get paid in Wisconsin?
Yes, guardians in Wisconsin can receive payment for services they provide for or on behalf of a ward. Such payments must be reasonable and tailored to the best interests of the ward and their unique circumstances.
Guardians may also receive a monthly payment under subsidized guardianship to offset costs associated with caring for the ward.
What is the difference between a guardian and a power of attorney in Wisconsin?
A power of attorney in Wisconsin allows you to choose someone to act on your behalf, while guardianship requires the court to appoint a guardian.
What is the new guardianship law in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin’s new guardianship law requires all proposed guardians to complete training and submit a sworn, notarized affidavit prior to the hearing on or after January 1, 2023.
This law is designed to ensure that guardians are appropriately trained and qualified to care for the person they are appointed to protect. It also provides a safeguard against potential abuse or neglect.
The affidavit must include information about the proposed guardian’s background, qualifications, and qualifications.
How long does temporary guardianship last in Wisconsin?
Temporary guardianship in Wisconsin can last up to two months, with the option to extend it for another two months if needed.
Extending the guardianship is possible if the situation requires it.
While we serve most of Wisconsin, if you’re in the Beloit, WI area and are looking for an experienced guardianship attorney to assist you, please feel free to reach out to O’Flaherty Law at:
645 3rd St Ste. 53
Beloit, WI 53511
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