Legal Guardianship in Alabama

By Joe Stone

A legal guardianship in Alabama is a court proceeding used to appoint someone to be responsible for the personal well-being of a minor or incapacitated adult. A person under a guardianship is called a ward. If the ward needs someone to manage his property or money, Alabama law allows for the appointment of a guardian of the estate, which in Alabama is known as a "conservator." Depending on circumstances, the same person can be appointed as guardian and conservator.

Appointment of Guardian or Conservator

A guardian or conservator is appointed after an appropriate petition is filed with the probate court -- with supporting documentation -- and a hearing is held. In the case of an incapacitated adult, a physician's examination is required. Alabama law specifies that the court may appoint any qualified person as a guardian or conservator, but the court must follow certain priorities. For example, the ward's spouse has priority of appointment over the ward's adult child or parent. In the case of a minor, the parents' nomination of a qualified person in a will is given priority; however, a minor who is over the age of 14 can object to a parental appointment. In such a situation, the court will appoint as guardian the minor's nominee, unless the court finds the person nominated not in the minor's best interest.

Guardian Powers and Responsibilities

In all guardianship cases, the guardian must be acquainted with the ward personally and is responsible for the ward's welfare. If the ward is a minor, the guardian takes on the responsibilities of a parent and must provide for the education, care and support for the minor. For an incapacitated adult, the guardian must ensure that the ward's daily needs are met, such as his meals, personal hygiene and medication. The court has the discretion to limit a guardian's powers or responsibilities as necessary.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Conservator Powers and Responsibilities

A conservator manages the ward's property and protects it from waste or fraud. In general, the conservator can act without further order of the court to receive the ward's income and pay bills and expenses as they become due. This also include managing investments. However, a conservator must obtain court authorization before taking certain actions, such as operating a business for the ward or disposing of real estate. All conservators must complete and file an inventory of the ward's estate within 90 days of appointment and file an accounting with the court every three years.

Termination of Guardianship or Conservatorship

A guardianship or conservatorship for an adult terminates upon the death of the guardian, conservator or ward, and also in cases where the ward's incapacity ends. A guardianship or conservatorship for a minor terminates when the minor reaches the age of majority, is adopted or marries. Any guardianship or conservatorship also ends if the guardian or conservator resigns or is removed by the court.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Legal Guardianship in Indiana


Related articles

Legal Guardianship for an Incompetent Parent

A guardian is a party who undertakes legal responsibility and authority for the care of someone else, known as a ward. An adult can become a ward only if he is declared legally incompetent. If your parent is a victim of a disability that prevents him from meeting his basic needs, you may petition a court to appoint a guardian.

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 ward. Although the powers and duties of guardians are similar to the powers and duties of parents with respect to minor children, a court cannot appoint a guardian for an adult unless he is subject to a disability that prevents him from effectively caring for himself. State law governs guardianships.

How to Appoint a Guardian for an Unborn Child in Texas

A guardianship is a legal relationship between a ward and an individual tasked with caring for the ward's well-being. In Texas, an "individual" is defined as a human being who is alive, including an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth. In the event a pregnant woman is unable to care for her child while in gestation, another individual can petition the Texas probate court for guardianship over the child. The court will require the appointment of an attorney guardian ad litem to advocate for the unborn child's best interests throughout the duration of the proceedings.

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

Related articles

Naming a Guardian in Kansas

A legal guardian is a party appointed by a court to care for a minor child or an impaired adult, known as the ward. ...

Legal Guardianship for an Adult in California

In California, a legal guardianship for an adult is called a conservatorship and can only be established by an order of ...

Legal Guardianship Procedures

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

Missouri Statute on Guardianship

A legal guardian's relationship to a ward, who can be a minor or a disabled or incapacitated adult, is analogous to a ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED