Quick Guide to North Carolina Guardianships
NC guardianship law
The majority of North Carolina guardianship laws are located under Chapter 35A of the NC Statutes. The chapter provides procedures for the guardianship of incapacitated adults, minors, and for the estate. You can complete listing of NC guardianship law at the following link.
The North Carolina Guardianship Association is also a great resource for information associated with general guardianships. Most of the information in this article can be found under the NCGA as well.
Establishing North Carolina Guardianship
The state will normally give preference to relatives in any type of guardianship—especially concerning a minor. The court will also give preference to friends of the Department of Human Services caseworkers when parental rights have been terminated by the court or the parent allows the minor to live with another person voluntarily. The permission from a parent may occur if the parent is older and the child requires special needs, but there are other situations where guardianship rights can be handed down.
The court never allows a person or family with a criminal background to have guardianship rights, and individuals who show a weak financial history will not be considered either. However, in order for a qualified person or family to file in accordance with NC guardianship law, they must take a variety of steps. Some general steps are provided in the next section.
Filing for North Carolina Guardianship
The NCGA provides general steps which are supplemented by this article. The first step any prospective guardian takes includes filing a petition with the local court and jurisdiction in which the ward resides. If you need help locating a court, you can visit the official website of the North Carolina Court System and select your county below the image on the homepage.
According to NC guardianship law, the clerk of the court will receive the completed petition and decide if the person is incapacitated enough to receive a guardianship. If the clerk decides North Carolina guardianship is necessary, they may help a guardian litem to help the ward through the proceedings.
During the hearing process, the clerk and guardian will usually consult with a social worker and other witnesses to establish the ward’s condition and needs. After the court has decided upon the guardian, they will make sure the party understands the entirety of NC guardianship law and responsibilities. Once the hearing is over, the North Carolina guardianship will begin.
Responsibilities under NC guardianship law
The guardian is responsible for all living arrangements of a ward, as well as helping with training, education, employment, or other services the ward may need. Additionally, the guardian can normally give consent for medical, legal, or psychological services, and they are responsible for the ward’s property.
If the legal guardian dies during the North Carolina guardianship, the court will again help to appoint another qualified person. If there are family members that can still qualify as a valid guardian, the court will usually select a family member.