Missouri Statute on Guardianship

By David Carnes

A legal guardian's relationship to a ward, who can be a minor or a disabled or incapacitated adult, is analogous to a parent's relationship to his child, with similar authority and responsibility. A proposed guardian must petition the probate division of the Missouri Circuit Court for a court order appointing him as guardian.

A legal guardian's relationship to a ward, who can be a minor or a disabled or incapacitated adult, is analogous to a parent's relationship to his child, with similar authority and responsibility. A proposed guardian must petition the probate division of the Missouri Circuit Court for a court order appointing him as guardian.

Guardians for Minor Children

A court will appoint a guardian for a minor only if his parents are dead, have had their parental rights terminated by the juvenile court, or are unable or unwilling to care for him. When appointing a guardian, the court is required by law to give first priority to the person nominated in the will of the minor's last surviving parent, if any, or the person nominated by the minor if he is at least 14. If these nominees do not exist or are unfit to serve, or if the appointment would not be in the minor's best interests, the court may appoint another person as guardian.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Guardians for Adults

A guardian may be appointed for an adult only if he is physically or mentally incapacitated to the extent that he cannot provide for his own needs. Incapacity must be established by a written report issued by the adult's treating physician, or by an independent medical evaluation ordered by the court. The Missouri Probate Code requires the court to give consideration to a person nominated by the adult's agent under a valid power of attorney and, if the adult is mentally competent, any able and willing person he nominates himself. It must also consider his close adult relatives.

Guardian Duties

The Missouri Probate Code requires a guardian to provide food and shelter, to ensure that the ward lives in the "best and least restrictive environment," to provide access to needed health care, to maintain and promote the ward's health, safety and welfare, as well as to provide consents -- such as consent to medical treatment -- on behalf of the ward. If the ward owns significant property, he may not manage the ward's property unless he has also been appointed conservator. A guardian need not be a resident of Missouri.

Appointment Process

The Missouri Probate Code allows any "interested person" to file a guardianship petition with the probate division of the Missouri Circuit Court that has jurisdiction over the ward's county of residence. "Interested person" means anyone with a stake in the outcome of the case, whether or not he wishes to be appointed as guardian. The probate court then sets a hearing date and appoints an attorney for the ward. The attorney must visit the ward before the hearing. The probate judge will take testimony from anyone who is in a position to assess the ward's capabilities such as family members or caseworkers. If the petition is successful, the court will appoint a guardian, but may limit his powers based on the capabilities of the ward.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Laws on Obtaining Sole Guardianship

References

Related articles

Legal Guardianship in Colorado

A guardian is appointed by the court to make personal decisions on behalf of another person, known as the ward, when that person is incapable of making decisions for himself. A ward may be a minor child or an incapacitated adult. In Colorado, the laws governing guardianship are found in Title 15, Article 14 of the Colorado Revised Statutes.

Legal Guardianship Statutes in Minnesota

A guardian is a person who is granted the legal right to make personal decisions on behalf of someone, known as a ward, who cannot effectively make them on his own. In Minnesota, guardians may not make most types of financial decisions on behalf of a ward -- for that, a conservator must be appointed. A state courts must appoint a guardian, whose rights and responsibilities are governed by state law. Minnesota's guardianship law is found in Article 5 of the Minnesota Uniform Probate Code.

How Do I Get Legal Guardianship in Missouri?

A legal guardian undertakes responsibility for the welfare of someone, known as a ward, who is unable to undertake these responsibilities on his own behalf. A ward may be either a minor whose parents cannot or will not care for him, or an adult suffering from an incapacity that prevents him from meeting his own needs. A guardian can be appointed only by court order. Missouri's guardianship laws are found in Chapter 475 of the Missouri Revised Statutes.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Legal Guardianship in Alabama

A legal guardianship in Alabama is a court proceeding used to appoint someone to be responsible for the personal ...

Legal Guardianship of a Minor in Ohio

A guardian must be appointed for a minor under the age of 18 if his parents die or are declared unfit, unless the minor ...

Guardianship Laws for Adults

A guardian is a person or entity appointed by a court to care for a person who cannot meet his own needs, known as a ...

Legal Guardianship Procedures

Guardianship is a legal relationship between two people: a guardian and a ward. The guardian is granted legal authority ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED