There are many reasons why you may need to apply for guardianship over another person in Pennsylvania. Regardless of the reason, the Pennsylvania Bar Association explains that you must go to the Orphan’s Court to file your guardianship case. This court will have to hear testimony and see evidence that the person requires the appointment of a guardian because he or she is incapacitated in some way.

Incapacitation means the person cannot make decisions or is physically unable to take care of his or herself. There are two types of guardianship based on the incapacity of the person. You can either be the guardian of the person or the estate or both. Being a guardian of the estate means you handle financial matters only. Being a guardian of the person means you handle general decision making, such as living arrangements.

The court takes assigning guardianship of any kind very seriously because it removes some important rights from the person. If the court appoints you the guardian of the estate, then that person no longer can make his or her own financial decisions. That is a huge responsibility for you, too. Therefore, the court must ensure the person really cannot handle his or her own needs, which requires proof from experts, such as doctors.

Guardianship is not something anyone should take lightly. Removing someone’s right to make decisions for him or herself is a serious matter which is why the court may break guardianship rights into two categories. A person may need a guardian of the person but not a guardian to handle his or her finances, for example. This information is for education only. It is not legal advice.