The State of Delaware defines a disabled person as someone over the age of 18 who has a physical and/or mental impairment that prevents her from caring for herself and/or her property. If you are the loved one of a disabled person, it may fall to you to take on a decision-making role on her behalf in financial and/or medical matters. There is more than one way to accomplish this, but one is to become a court-appointed guardian.

Guardianship of an adult continues until the court decides to terminate it. In other words, becoming the guardian of a disabled adult could be a lifelong commitment. Therefore, it is an undertaking that you should take seriously.

Once you become a guardian, you have responsibilities and duties that you have to perform. Failure to do so could mean the termination of your guardianship. Specific responsibilities include the following:

Updates to the record

Circumstances may change or you may become aware of important information that is not a part of the official record but should be. You can update the record by filing it with the court in writing.

Changes to guardianship

For one reason or another, you may be unable to fulfill your guardianship duties. One way to potentially resolve the matter is to add a co-guardian to help share the load. Other options may be available as well. You can contact the Register at the Court of Chancery and discuss your situation with the staff there.

Annual Update and Medical Statement

You must submit this document to the court during every year of your guardianship. It must include an affidavit from a physician stating whether or not the guardianship is still necessary. It must also provide the court with your ward’s current geographical information, as well as your own.

Notification of death

Upon the death of your ward, the guardianship is no longer necessary. If your ward passes away, you have 10 days to notify the court of his death.

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.