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Kevin O'Flaherty

Looking to establish guardianship in Indiana? The key is Indiana guardianship forms, which are fundamental in setting the legal groundwork. This article cuts to the chase, explaining how to pinpoint and complete the necessary forms to legally protect and care for your ward.

Understanding Indiana Guardianship Forms

Guardianship forms are legal documents outlining the responsibilities and rights of the guardian over a ward, who could be a minor or an incapacitated adult. They serve to establish a guardianship relationship and are vital in streamlining the legal procedure for confirming guardianship in Indiana.

Indiana offers a variety of guardianship forms, such as limited guardianship, guardian ad litem, and veterans administration guardianship. Each form fulfills a unique purpose; thus, understanding their specifics is crucial for selecting the most suitable one for your situation.

Types of Guardianship Forms

Indiana's guardianship forms differ based on the type of guardianship desired. The forms range from:

  • Limited guardianship
  • Guardian ad litem
  • Veterans administration guardianship
  • Permanent guardianship

Each form fulfills a unique role. For instance, a guardian of the person supervises living conditions and treatment, a guardian of the estate oversees financial affairs, a temporary guardianship caters to temporary needs, and a minor child guardianship designates a guardian for minors with consent.

These forms aim to protect the rights and well-being of the ward, with application varying depending on whether the ward is a minor or an incapacitated adult. For instance, the 'Acceptance and Oath of Guardian Appointed Over Minors Person and Estate' form is applicable for minors, while the 'Acceptance and Oath of Guardian Appointed Over Person of Incapacitated Person' form is for incapacitated adults. Choosing the least restrictive form of guardianship that fits the individual's needs is crucial.

Indiana guardianship forms

Purpose of Guardianship Forms

Indiana guardianship forms aim to simplify the legal procedure of establishing guardianship over an individual's property and financial affairs. They outline a systematic method for:

  • Naming a guardian
  • Addressing various needs and considerations
  • Stipulating the guardian's rights and duties, including managing the ward's assets, making healthcare and education decisions, and ensuring the ward's welfare and safety.

Having a guardianship form is critical to validate the guardian's legal authority to manage the individual's property and financial matters. These forms aid in thorough documentation and verify the guardian's eligibility for compensation for their services. The court plays a pivotal role in the establishment of guardianship by issuing the required order for an individual to assume the role of a legal guardian and managing the allocation of funds for adult guardianship programs. This highlights the court's essential responsibility in supervising the process as outlined in Indiana statutes and local regulations.

The Guardianship Process in Indiana

The guardianship process in Indiana comprises several steps, starting with the submission of a Petition for Guardianship to the appropriate court. This petition should illustrate:

  • The necessity of guardianship
  • Its alignment with the ward's best interests
  • The reasons why you, as the proposed guardian, are the most qualified candidate for the role

It's worth noting that the guardianship process in Indiana is regulated by Indiana statutes and local rules, which provide the legal framework for the entire process.

Throughout the guardianship process, comprehending the court's role in making the final decision is vital. The court considers several factors when appointing a guardian, including the potential ward's expressed wishes and the ability to handle the person's property and financial affairs. This helps ensure that the appointed guardian is the most suitable person to fulfill the role and responsibilities of a guardian.

Filing a Guardianship Petition

Filing a guardianship petition is a fundamental step in the guardianship process, which entails filling out the relevant forms and submitting them to the court. The Petition for Guardianship should offer a comprehensive justification of how the guardianship would serve the ward's best interest.

The guardianship petition should be filed with a court that has probate jurisdiction. The filing fee for a guardianship petition in Indiana is $176.00. Although it's possible to submit a guardianship petition without legal representation, it's generally advisable to seek legal counsel. There are instances where the court may mandate the presence of an attorney.

Court Hearings and Appointing a Guardian

Following the filing of the Petition for Guardianship, the court hearing is the next stage. It is during these hearings that the court ascertains the need for guardianship and appoints an appropriate guardian. In making this appointment, the court considers several factors, including the potential ward's expressed wishes and the ability to manage the person's property and financial matters.

The individual who is purportedly incapacitated possesses the entitlement to offer evidence and conduct cross-examination of witnesses during the guardianship hearing. This right ensures that their interests and perspectives are taken into account during the hearing, further emphasizing the court's commitment to protect the rights of the ward.

Key Parties Involved in Indiana Guardianship Cases

In an Indiana guardianship case, several key participants play significant roles, including the proposed guardian, the allegedly incapacitated person, and other interested parties. Each party has distinct roles and rights within the guardianship process.

The proposed guardian is the individual aiming to become the ward's guardian. Their responsibilities include safeguarding the guardianship property, adhering to the care standards pertinent to trustees, and prioritizing the ward's best interest.

The allegedly incapacitated person, who is the subject of the guardianship, retains the right to have their wishes considered during the guardian selection, seeking a different guardian, and throughout the process, their wishes and preferences should be respected.

The guardianship case might involve other interested parties, such as:

  • Relatives
  • Friends
  • Professionals involved in the care of the allegedly incapacitated person
  • Any individuals who require notification about the guardianship proceedings.

Proposed Guardian

The proposed guardian holds a pivotal role in a guardianship case. To qualify as a proposed guardian, one must secure an order from the court since simply cohabiting with the ward does not suffice to establish legal guardianship. The proposed guardian is expected to:

  • Meet certain qualifications
  • Abide by specific restrictions and limitations
  • Consider the incapacitated person's preferences
  • Consider the wishes of a minor over 14 years of age
  • Consider the request of the spouse
  • Consider other relevant considerations.

Before being appointed by the court, the proposed guardian is tasked with fulfilling the role of a guardian in relation to the guardianship property and placing the best interests of the ward as a priority. If seeking guardianship of the estate, they are required to submit an inventory of assets.

Allegedly Incapacitated Person

The allegedly incapacitated person refers to the individual subject to the guardianship process. They are identified based on specific criteria, including an inability to be located upon reasonable inquiry, incapacity to perform certain tasks, and evidence of mental disorder or physical incapacity.

The allegedly incapacitated person can participate in the guardianship process by being represented either by their own attorney or by a guardian ad litem appointed by the court. This ensures their interests are protected throughout the proceedings.

Other Interested Parties

A guardianship case may involve other interested parties, such as close family members, friends, or professionals caring for the allegedly incapacitated person. Typically, stakeholders in Indiana guardianship cases might include family members like grandparents or other relatives designated in a parent's will to take on guardianship of an incapacitated person.

Friends may serve as guardians if they fulfill the legal requirements. However, there could be limitations, such as physical distance or estrangement, that may hinder their ability to serve in this role. Other individuals commonly engaged in Indiana guardianship cases are:

  • Judges
  • Attorneys
  • Guardianship professionals
  • Volunteers at the national level

Financial institutions are also involved as interested parties in a guardianship case, where a guardian must exhibit all holdings to an officer at the financial institution for the purposes of filing any account, including providing certification of an officer on guardianship accountings.

Probate Jurisdiction and Indiana County Requirements

In guardianship cases, comprehending the concept of probate jurisdiction and county-specific requirements is key. The Indiana probate court, with jurisdiction over guardianships, handles matters related to domestic disputes and administration.

The guardianship process may vary across different Indiana counties. For instance, the guardianship requirements and procedures might differ from one county to another. Consequently, it is important to refer to the guardianship statutes in the Indiana Code and the specific local regulations for each county available on the Indiana Courts website.

Probate Jurisdiction

The probate court plays a crucial role in guardianship cases. It oversees the proceedings as the court with jurisdiction over guardianships, managing issues related to domestic disputes, guardianship petitions, and administration of these cases.

Probate jurisdiction is determined by the probate court's authority over civil matters, including those related to domestic disputes, administration of estates, and guardianships. Apart from guardianship cases, probate jurisdiction encompasses a variety of specific civil and criminal issues, including domestic disputes, estate administration, wills, trusts, adoptions, and paternity disputes.

Indiana County Requirements

Guardianship requirements in Indiana counties may vary. Therefore, it's important to consult the statutes on guardianship in the Indiana Code. Additionally, specific local regulations for each county can be accessed on the Indiana Courts website.

The guardianship requirements for a specific county in Indiana can be found by referring to the Indiana Department of Revenue's Guardianship Fact Sheet and the Indiana Office of Court Services' Guardianship resources. Numerous counties in Indiana have implemented the guardianship registry. Therefore, it's advisable to reach out to the county clerk to obtain information regarding the particular forms necessary for initiating a guardianship process.

Comprehensive details on local rules and procedures governing guardianship in various Indiana counties can be consulted from the following resources:

  • Indiana Dispute Resolution Division's Guardianship Fact Sheet
  • Indiana Office of Court Services' Trial Court Guardianship publication
  • Indiana Law Library's Probate and Guardianship LibGuide.

Managing the Responsibilities of a Legal Guardian

Becoming a legal guardian entails a host of responsibilities. In Indiana, a guardian's primary duties include:

  • Sticking to the guardianship property standards
  • Upholding the care and conduct standards applicable to trustees
  • Prioritizing the best interests of the protected person
  • If serving as a guardian of the estate, submitting an inventory of assets.

As a legal guardian, you are also tasked with overseeing all financial matters of the ward, including the diligent management and protection of the individual and/or the ward's assets. In addition, you are authorized to act on behalf of your ward in making crucial medical care decisions.

Financial Management

In Indiana, a legal guardian is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing the ward's financial estate. This involves the management of their financial affairs, assets, and the authorization of important financial choices on behalf of the ward.

Furthermore, as a guardian, you also fulfill your duty to the court by submitting an inventory of the ward's assets and maintaining regular communication with the court regarding the ward's finances and property. This ensures transparency and accountability in the management of the ward's financial matters.

Medical Care and Decision-Making

Apart from financial management, making healthcare decisions for the ward is also a significant responsibility of a legal guardian. In Indiana, the authority for a legal guardian to give consent for medical treatment to a ward is established by the Health Care Consent Act.

However, it's important to note that there are certain limitations to the medical choices a guardian can make for the award. For example, a temporary guardian can be appointed by the court for a duration of up to 60 days, pending a court order. Furthermore, the guardian is required to take into account:

  • the wishes of the incapacitated individual
  • the wishes of a minor over 14 years of age
  • the requests of the spouse
  • what is in the best interests of the person

As a legal guardian, you are also empowered to select the ward's medical practitioners, thereby exercising authority over the choice of medical care provider for the ward.

Tips for a Successful Guardianship Case

Successfully handling a guardianship case in Indiana demands meticulous planning, comprehensive preparation, and competent legal representation. Engaging an attorney can help guarantee compliance with Indiana statutes and local regulations. An attorney's counsel is essential for navigating the intricate legal procedures, obtaining a court order for guardianship, and overseeing the ward's estate and financial matters.

When preparing for a court hearing, here are some crucial prep steps:

  • Punctuality or early arrival is key.
  • Dress professionally.
  • Bring all required documents and evidence.
  • Understand court procedures.
  • Rehearse the presentation.
  • If necessary, consider legal assistance.

Working with an Attorney

Filing a guardianship petition in Indiana

Securing a reliable guardianship attorney in Indiana is vital for a successful guardianship case. Online platforms like Avvo can be useful resources for finding a list of guardianship attorneys and checking their reviews. Alternatively, you can reach out to specialized law offices like The Law Office of Deidra N. Haynes or Eskew Law for assistance with legal guardianship matters.

When selecting a guardianship attorney, prioritize qualities such as expertise in guardianship proceedings, effective communication skills, and a strong understanding of guardianship law in the state. A valuable guardianship attorney should demonstrate compassion, empathy, and the ability to advocate for the ward's best interests.

The customary cost for retaining a guardianship attorney in Indiana ranges from $1,500 to $3,500.

Preparing for Court Hearings

Preparation for a guardianship court hearing in Indiana calls for diligent planning and organization. Completion and submission of several forms, including the 'Acceptance and Oath' form, 'Waiver of Notice of Hearing and Consent to Guardianship by Alleged Incapacitated' form, are essential. Familiarity with Indiana statutes and local rules related to guardianship is equally important.

To adequately prepare for a guardianship court hearing, follow these steps:

  1. Collect relevant documents such as medical reports/evaluations and letters of recommendation.
  2. Arrive early for the court hearing, be prepared to wait, and ensure that all evidence is well-organized and accessible.
  3. Prioritize punctuality and dress in a manner befitting the occasion.
  4. Demonstrate respect towards all individuals involved.
  5. Attentively listen and wait for the appropriate moment to speak or respond during the guardianship court hearing.


Navigating the guardianship process in Indiana can be a daunting task without the right guidance. This comprehensive guide has walked you through every step of the process, from understanding the different types of guardianship forms and their purposes to the process of filing a guardianship petition, the key parties involved, and the management of the responsibilities of a legal guardian.

Remember, while it's possible to go through the guardianship process without an attorney, having one by your side can provide invaluable guidance and ensure that you adhere to all legal requirements. Be sure to prepare thoroughly for court hearings and always prioritize the best interests of the ward in all decisions. As you embark on this journey of guardianship, remember that you are not alone, and there are resources available to help you navigate this process.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get guardianship papers in Indiana?

To get guardianship papers in Indiana, you need to provide a compelling case to the court explaining how guardianship is in the best interest of the child and request to be appointed as the guardian. You can find self-help forms and resources on Guardianship in Indiana to assist you with the process.

Can you get guardianship without going to court in Indiana?

No, in Indiana, you cannot get guardianship without going to court. You need an order from the court to be a legal guardian, regardless of living arrangements.

What is the difference between guardianship and custody in Indiana?

In Indiana, legal guardianship grants someone other than a biological parent the right to care for a minor, whereas custody generally refers to a parent caring for their own child. Guardianship does not always give custody or definitively mean a biological parent's custody is revoked.

How long does emergency guardianship take in Indiana?

An emergency guardianship in Indiana is temporary, lasting for up to 60 days. However, permanent guardianship can be established through a hearing and will last as long as needed.

Can I file for guardianship in Indiana without an attorney?

It is advisable to seek an attorney for filing for guardianship in Indiana, as some courts may require it. Review the Guardianship statutes in Indiana Code Title 29-3 and consider the rules specific to your county.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Each individual's legal needs are unique, and these materials may not be applicable to your legal situation. Always seek the advice of a competent attorney with any questions you may have regarding a legal issue. Do not disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this blog.

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