Challenging or Contesting A Guardianship
A guardianship can be challenged or contested either after an Application for Guardianship has been filed but before the Guardianship is granted, or at some time in the future when the facts warrant after a Guardianship has been established by the court. The procedures to do so may be different, but the basic principles are the same.
Generally, if you are a family member, interested party or the ward and believe that the person who is requesting to be the guardian is either the wrong one for the job due to their character or ability , or is unethical, and you have proof of that, a challenge by way of an answer and possible cross-application for guardian to the initial guardianship application can be filed before the Application for Guardianship is heard by the judge. If, on the other hand at any time after a guardianship is established you learn that the guardian is abusing the ward, is neglecting the ward, that the guardian has committed a serious crime of which she or he has been convicted, is taking from the ward’s finances in a dishonest way or has committed some type of fraud or misrepresentation, you should bring this to the attention of the court as soon as possible by a contest to the guardianship. You will need an experienced, well versed lawyer in guardianship challenges and contests such as those at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C. to file the contest, collect the proper evidence and to persuasively present your challenge to the judge. The judge will hold a hearing or set a trial on the challenge wherein documents and witness are presented to prove your claim. The guardian can also present documents and witnesses on his or her own behalf in an effort to show you are incorrect. After the hearing or trial, the judge will weigh the merits of the evidence and will decide as to whether the guardian is or is not to continue in his or her role. The judge will then decide if a new guardian should be appointed and who that guardian should be.
The complexity of the hearing in which a guardianship is challenged or contested differs due to the facts and in which court the case is heard. Some hearings may take several hours while others can take a day or more depending on the documentary evidence and number of witnesses. It is important that you hire an experienced lawyer is such cases to properly prepare your case before the hearing or trial, present the documentary evidence to the court, to properly present your witness and to vigorously cross-examine proposed guardian or appointed guardian as well as his or her witnesses. Our guardianship lawyers at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C. have years of experience in the courtroom and are an excellent choice no matter how complex the case may be. We are absolutely dedicated to helping you obtain the desired results at the most reasonable cost possible.