Court-ordered guardianship can feel like a daunting task for a new guardian. Suddenly you are responsible for another person’s care and well-being. As a financial guardian, you must navigate through piles of paperwork, including regular court-ordered inventories. In this blog post, we will walk you through what you need to do to prepare for your role as a financial guardian in North Carolina.
What is Guardianship Paperwork? What Does it Entail?
Court-ordered guardianship paperwork can include some different things. The court will typically order a surety bond, an insurance policy that protects the ward’s assets in case the guardian mismanages them. The court may also order regular inventories of the ward’s assets and require the guardian to submit financial reports regularly.
As a financial guardian, you will manage the ward’s finances and ensure to pay their bills on time. You may also be responsible for investing the ward’s assets and making decisions about their financial future. Guardianship can be a lot of responsibility, so preparing before taking on this role is vital.
What Does the Court Expect From Me?
The court will expect you to be a responsible financial guardian. You will need to keep track of the ward’s assets and report any changes to the court. You must also submit regular financial reports detailing how you’ve spent the ward’s money.
Because you have authority over another’s finances, income, etc., the court may expect you to secure a surety bond from an insurance company. This bond gives security to the estate in case you steal the ward’s assets.
The company you choose will run your credit. If you struggle to obtain the surety bond, you may need legal help to get your surety bond.
As a guardian of the financial aspects of another’s life, the court will also expect you to report your activities regularly.
According to the NC Judicial Branch, “A guardian of the estate or general guardian must file an inventory of the ward’s assets within 3 months after qualification and must file an annual account each year regarding the status of the ward’s property and money received and paid.”
You’ll begin reporting to the court with a complete inventory of the ward’s estate. In this first court-ordered inventory, you’ll need to provide records of everything the ward owns. The first inventory is crucial to setting the tone for your work with the court. The court expects a full report with all of the supporting documentation attached.
This first inventory is also a chance to learn how to do inventories well. The court will expect a yearly inventory from you to describe what you’ve done the past year in detail with supporting documentation. So starting on the right foot can help you with future inventories!
For the first inventory, you’ll need to provide:
- Bank account information and statements
- List of stocks, investments, and real estate
- Life insurance policies
- Pension plans and retirement accounts
- Taxes and all supporting documentation
- List of any valuable items or assets
At later yearly inventories, you’ll also need to provide:
- Documentation of any changes in the ward’s assets during the guardianship period
- A description of how you’ve managed the ward’s finances during the guardianship period
- Receipts for guardianship expenses
- All account statements
- A final accounting of all guardianship income and expenses
While this may feel like a lot, it’s crucial to remember that you are providing critical information to the court. This paperwork protects both you and the ward.
If you have questions about how to fill out any forms or what documentation the court will accept, you can always ask an experienced guardianship attorney for help.
What If I Get the Court-Ordered Inventory Paperwork Wrong?
A guardianship attorney can provide maintenance and support for handling your guardianship. An attorney may help to maintain your records, prepare your accounts, or provide advocacy before the court if you make a mistake.
If the court finds issues with your carefully prepared paperwork, a guardianship attorney can help you accomplish what you must do to find a favorable court response.
Hiring a guardianship attorney can give you peace of mind from knowing someone is on your side, looking out for your best interests and the ward’s. If you struggle to keep up with court-ordered guardianship paperwork in North Carolina, consider reaching out to an attorney today.
What If I Feel Overwhelmed By Guardianship Paperwork?
If you’ve been appointed guardian, the court will expect you to be prepared to take on this role. You’ll need to be organized and have all the necessary paperwork in order. However, if you feel like you can’t keep up with the guardianship paperwork or you’re struggling to understand what the court expects from you, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
You can always reach out to an experienced guardianship attorney for assistance. They can review your paperwork, help you understand what you need to work on, and offer guidance and support as you navigate the guardianship process.
“Skipping a year of inventory reporting is not an option.” One common question from financial guardians is whether they can take a break from their guardianship duties if the ward’s finances are stable. The answer is no – guardianship is a lifelong commitment, and the court expects you to be there for the ward even when things are going well.
So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed by guardianship paperwork, remember that you don’t have to go through this process alone. There are legal counselors who can help you through! With a bit of help, you can handle it like a pro!
We Can Help
At Hopler, Wilms, and Hanna, our guardianship attorneys can walk you through the guardianship process and help you understand your paperwork and inventory obligations. Get in touch to discuss your guardianship case and find answers to your questions. Contact us and find out how we can help!