If you’ve recently taken on the job of being your someone’s legal guardian, you’re now responsible for helping that person out with his or her personal affairs. You’ve also probably been handed a stack of forms and instructions on how to keep the right records and make the right filings.
There are, however, a lot of other things you may need to know. Informing yourself about your rights and responsibilities can help you do the best job possible.
1. Are you legally and financially responsible for your ward?
You are not personally financially liable for your ward’s debts, even if your ward is a relative like your mother or father. You are also not responsible for any criminal acts committed by your ward.
2. What if other relatives don’t like the job I am doing?
Family conflicts over a ward aren’t uncommon, particularly when that ward is one of your parents. If your siblings are unhappy with the job you are doing, they can take their issues to the court and petition for your removal.
In the end, you are the final authority over your ward’s well-being. You are the only person the court will hold responsible if you don’t uphold your duties, so follow the court’s directions and your conscious, not what your relatives say.
3. Can you charge your ward for room and board and other expenses?
Yes, as long as the fees are reasonable. Document the expenses and submit the rent fees or room and board to the probate court. You will need the judge’s approval. You are not expected to incur significant personal expenses in your job as a guardian.
4. Can you relocate with your ward?
As long as you stay within Colorado, yes. If you wish to move out of state with the ward, you need to have the court’s permission prior to the move.
6. Does being a guardian make me the ward’s payee for Social Security?
No. Social Security has to make its own determination about who should be payee, although your guardianship will likely be heavily considered. Talk to Social Security as soon as possible.
Being someone’s guardian is a lot of work, but it’s also fulfilling. You know that the person you love is in the best of hands.
Source: courts.state.co.us, “User’s Manual for Guardians in Colorado,” accessed April 27, 2018