How Does Guardianship Work in Oklahoma?

intelligent admirable girl learning about dads workGuardianship, as a concept, serves as a protective framework, a legal safety net for those unable to make critical decisions about their lives due to age, illness, or disability. However, guardianship is not a universal concept with uniform regulations. It morphs and changes, tailoring itself to the legal landscape of each state. Grasping the nuances of guardianship in Oklahoma is no small feat. It requires a comprehensive understanding of the law, a clear appreciation of the responsibilities that come with it, and a steadfast commitment to the welfare of the ward. Whether you are considering taking on this noble responsibility or are seeking ways to protect a loved one, acquiring knowledge about Oklahoma’s guardianship laws is the first step. So, how does guardianship work in Oklahoma?

Who Can Be a Guardian in Oklahoma?

Determining who can serve as a guardian is crucial to how guardianship works in Oklahoma. The state has specific eligibility requirements and considerations for this significant role.

A guardian must be a legally competent adult of sound mind. However, meeting this basic criterion does not automatically qualify an individual to become a guardian. The court will also look into the person’s moral character, ability to manage finances (if the guardianship includes property management), and physical ability to fulfill the role.

The court also considers the potential guardian’s relationship with the ward. Preference is usually given to relatives, especially parents in the case of minor wards, and spouses or adult children for adult wards. However, if no suitable family member is available or willing to serve, the court can appoint a professional guardian.

The court always seeks to act in the best interests of the ward. Therefore, even if a person is legally eligible and willing to serve as a guardian, they will not be appointed if the court does not believe their appointment would serve the ward’s best interests.

Types of Guardianship in Oklahoma

Oklahoma recognizes various types of guardianships, each serving unique situations and needs.

  • General Guardianship: General or full guardianship grants the guardian control over all personal and financial decisions for the ward, typically when they are unable to manage these aspects themselves.
  • Limited Guardianship: Limited guardianship allows the ward some degree of independence, with the guardian only having authority over specific aspects of the ward’s life.
  • Special Guardianship: Special guardianship is designed for situations where the ward needs a guardian for a specific purpose.

While the type of guardianship is significant, with the right support and guidance, it can also be fulfilling.

Guardianship Process in Oklahoma

The process of filing for guardianship in Oklahoma involves several steps. It begins with filing a petition in court, followed by a thorough investigation and hearing. The court then appoints the guardian, who accepts the role by taking an oath.

  1. Filing a Petition: The first step in establishing guardianship in Oklahoma is to file a petition. This petition is a formal document outlining the reasons why the individual in question requires a guardian and proposing a suitable person to take on this role. The petitioner could be a family member, a friend, or any interested party.
  2. Notice of Hearing: Upon receipt of the petition, the court will schedule a hearing. All relevant parties, including the proposed ward, their relatives, and any other interested individuals, must be notified of this hearing.
  3. Investigation: In Oklahoma, an investigator may be appointed by the court to evaluate the circumstances of the proposed ward.
  4. Hearing: During the hearing, the judge reviews the petition, considers the investigator’s report, and hears testimony from the proposed ward and other relevant parties. The purpose of this hearing is to determine whether a guardian is necessary and, if so, who that guardian should be.
  5. Appointment of the Guardian: If the judge concludes that a guardian is required, they will issue an order appointing a guardian. This person could be the one proposed in the petition or someone else deemed suitable by the court.
  6. Oath: The appointed guardian must take an oath promising to fulfill their duties faithfully.
  7. Reporting and Oversight: After being appointed, the guardian has ongoing responsibilities, including submitting regular reports to the court. These reports detail the ward’s condition and how their personal and financial affairs are being managed. The court oversees the guardian’s activities to ensure they are acting in the ward’s best interests.

Terminating guardianship in Oklahoma requires a formal request to the court, illustrating a change in the ward’s circumstances. This could be the ward regaining capacity, the minor reaching adulthood, or the ward’s passing.

Throughout this process, it is crucial to have the guidance of an experienced guardianship attorney. If you’re considering guardianship in Oklahoma, don’t navigate these waters alone. Reach out to Lisa R. Howard, P.L.L.C., today for legal guidance and support.

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Law Office of Lisa R. Howard PLLC
7 S. Mickey Mantle Drive, Ste. 385
Oklahoma City, OK 73104

Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 12428
Oklahoma City, OK 73157

Phone: (405) 943-2500
Mobile: (405) 249-3080

Disclaimer: The information contained in this Website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.