How to Get Legal Guardianship in Pennsylvania

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Legal guardianship gives a person the right to make important decisions on behalf of someone else, such as those pertaining to financial, health and living arrangements. If you are under the age of 18, then usually your parents will have legal guardianship over you without having to file a petition in court. A person can also get legal guardianship over you if you are an adult with a disability and are unable to make decisions on your own. In Pennsylvania, a person seeking legal guardianship on behalf of someone should follow state legal proceedings.

Choose the Type of Guardianship

Decide the type of legal guardianship you want on behalf of someone. For minors, there are two types of legal guardianship a parent can give to another adult on the child's behalf: temporary guardianship, in which a parent grants temporary guardianship to someone for situations such as another adult takes the child out of state for vacation, and stand-by guardianship, in which a parent grants guardianship to a designated adult in the event the parent become incapable of caring for the child, such as if the parent falls ill. Court proceedings are usually not required to establish temporary guardianship, but consulting an attorney is still a good idea.

Another type of legal guardianship is obtaining guardianship on behalf of someone over the age of 18 who is deemed incapacitated by a Pennsylvania judge. You could receive legal guardianship of the person or guardianship over the person's estate (if so, you can make only financial decisions on behalf of the person's estate). Choosing the correct type of guardianship will help you to file the correct paperwork in a Pennsylvania court.

Read More: How to Write a Legal Guardianship Document

Contact a Lawyer

Contact a lawyer in Pennsylvania who specializes in assisting with legal guardianship through the Pennsylvania Bar Association. A Pennsylvania lawyer will be familiar with the state court system, filing procedures and applicable forms for applying for legal guardianship.

Attend the Local Orphan's Court

Go to a local Orphans' Court in Pennsylvania nearest the county where the person you are seeking guardianship for lives. The Orphans' Court in Pennsylvania handles all matters for minors and incapacitated people in the state. Visit the court website or call the court to find out about locations and hours.

File the Paperwork

Complete the appropriate forms for the type of guardianship you are seeking and file them with the court. Usually the forms will require both your signature and the signature of the person for whom you seek guardianship. The Orphans' Court website has a link for downloading forms for legal guardianship and a list of the filing fees.

Attend the Hearing

Attend the legal guardianship proceedings at the Orphans' Court in Pennsylvania where you filed the petition for legal guardianship.

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About the Author

Tabatha Manuel is a certified English and speech teacher in Michigan. She completed her master's degree in secondary education from the University of Phoenix in 2012, and bachelor's in public relations from Wayne State University in 2004. Manuel is also a licensed realtor and author of several urban crime and mystery novels.

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