Can anyone be a guardian?
Even though state statute requires that a guardian be at least 18 years of age, in Union County you must be 21 years of age or older, a resident of Ohio, and have not been charged with or convicted of a crime
involving theft, physical violence, or sexual, alcohol or substance abuse, to be a guardian.
The court prefers that family members become the guardian when possible, but at times there is no family available. Thatís when the Union County Volunteer Guardian Program Services becomes involved.
What kinds of things do guardians do?
Guardians of Person provide the following services:
- Determine a wardís suitable and appropriate living arrangements and arrange for successful relocation, if necessary.
- Visit monthly or more regularly, as needed.
- Identify and coordinate providers of direct services.
- Attend care conferences in person or by teleconference.
- Approve or deny authorization for medical treatment.
- Be available for emergencies.
- Assist with pre-paid funeral planning.
- Prepare annual reports for Probate Court and quarterly reports for UCVGP.
Donít attorneys usually act as guardians? Your staff arenít lawyers. Is that good?
Generally, there are two types of guardians: Guardian of Person and Guardian of Estate. Attorneys are excellent at doing Guardian of Estate work which requires a lot of legal intervention. However, Guardian of Person activities include decisions about living arrangements and medical care. As Guardian of Person, we work collaboratively with attorneys and trust officers at banks to make the best decisions possible for our wards.
Does the Union County Probate Court approve of what you do?
The UCVGP works closely with the Union County Probate Court. Judge Eufinger and her two Magistrates are always available for advice.
Arenít you in competition with attorneys?
With VGP acting as Guardian of Person, attorneys can focus on Guardian of Estate/financial issues. Attorneys are freed from time-consuming and often complicated social work responsibilities of Guardian of Person, resulting in a more satisfied ward and family.
How much does your service cost?
There is no cost. Funds for guardianship services for these individuals come from several sources such as the Union County Senior Services levy and United Way.
What is guardianship?
Guardianship is a legally defined process whereby a person (the ward) has been declared by the Probate Court to be incompetent and a guardian is appointed by the Court for the care and management of the ward. In most instances, the guardianship of person will be requested when a referral is made to the Volunteer Guardian Program (VPG).
What can you tell me about the people who are in need of a volunteer?
The people who are referred to VGP must be adults, are most often indigent, lacking available or appropriate family and/or support systems, and usually have a mental or physical disability as defined by law. Many of the wards reside in nursing homes or in some kind of assisted living.
Why should I consider volunteering for UCVGP?
Volunteering in this program will give you the opportunity to meet a need in your own community for an at-risk population. You will be able to reach out with a caring heart and hand to a person who likely is without family or close friends. You will gain experience in nurturing, advocating and caring for another person who otherwise would have no one in his or her life. Perhaps most importantly, you will receive satisfaction in making someoneís life better. The individual may be facing the reality of the end of life in an unfamiliar setting. With all of todayís technology, there is nothing that can begin to replace the smile or touch of another human being. Only you can provide this.