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Guardianship Attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma

In the event a parent becomes incapacitated or a minor is left without supervision due to illness, tragedy, or neglect, establishing guardianship can be a lifeline in restoring care and protection to your loved one.

At Funderburk and Associates PLLC, we understand the sensitivity and importance of guardianship matters. Located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we stand ready to provide compassionate and professional assistance to those facing these difficult decisions throughout Cherry Street, Patrick Henry, McClure Park, Sapulpa, Bixby, Broken Arrow, and Owasso, Oklahoma. 

Understanding Guardianship in Oklahoma

Guardianship is a legal relationship where one individual (the guardian) is appointed by the court to make decisions on behalf of another person (the ward) who is unable to do so themselves. The guardian handles decisions about healthcare, education, and financial matters for the ward.  

In Oklahoma, guardianships are designed to protect individuals who are incapacitated or minors who require adult supervision. This arrangement creates a structured framework through which a responsible adult can provide proper care for the ward, particularly when they are unable to manage their own affairs due to age, disability, or other factors.

When Is Guardianship Appropriate?

Guardianship is often considered when no suitable alternatives, such as a power of attorney, are available. Several circumstances where guardianship might be appropriate include:

  • When a minor's parents are deceased or otherwise unable to care for them 

  • When an adult becomes incapacitated due to mental illness, developmental disability, or physical incapacity 

If you are unsure whether guardianship is the right decision for your loved one, an experienced attorney can help you determine the best solution.

Who Can Be a Guardian?

In Oklahoma, a guardian can be a family member, a close friend, or a professional guardian appointed by a court of law. The court aims to prioritize the best interests of the ward and to select a guardian who is capable and willing to fulfill the role responsibly.

Types of Guardianship in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, there are two primary types of guardianship - guardianship of the person and guardianship of the estate. A guardian of the person is responsible for making decisions regarding the ward's personal well-being, including healthcare and living arrangements. On the other hand, a guardian of the estate manages the ward's financial affairs. 

Oklahoma law outlines various types of guardianship: 

  • General guardianship: For wards who require comprehensive, long-term care across all aspects of their lives 

  • Limited guardianship: For wards who need assistance in specific areas, such as financial matters or medical decisions 

  • Temporary guardianship: Granted in emergency situations where immediate intervention is necessary 

If you’re unsure which type of guardianship is appropriate for your loved one, consulting with a trusted family law attorney can illuminate the different legal options available and help you determine the right direction.   

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The Legal Process of Establishing Guardianship

In Oklahoma, any competent adult aged 18 or older can become a guardian. The court typically prefers family members but can appoint close friends or professional guardians if deemed appropriate. The court will consider the potential guardian’s relationship with the ward, their ability to fulfill guardianship duties, and any criminal background checks. 

To become a guardian in Oklahoma, one must: 

  • Be at least 18 years old 

  • Have no prior felony convictions 

  • Demonstrate financial stability and emotional maturity 

  • Attend mandatory guardian training sessions 

Responsibilities of a Guardian 

In Oklahoma, a guardian has several key responsibilities that they must be willing and able to perform. These include: 

  • Daily care: Providing safe and supportive living conditions 

  • Healthcare: Making medical decisions, including consent for treatments and arranging necessary healthcare services 

  • Financial management: Managing the ward’s financial affairs, such as paying bills, managing income, and maintaining proper records 

Guardians must also submit annual reports to the court detailing the ward's status and any significant decisions made. 

Rights of the Ward in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, wards retain several important individual rights. These include: 

  • Right to dignity and respect: Wards must be treated with dignity and respect at all times. 

  • Participation in decisions: To the extent possible, wards should be involved in any decisions affecting their lives. 

  • Petitioning the court: Wards have the right to petition the court for changes in their guardianship arrangements, including its termination or modification. 

Proving the Need for Guardianship 

To establish the necessity of guardianship in Oklahoma, you will need to present clear and convincing evidence to the court. This evidence typically includes medical assessments, testimonies from relevant parties, and other supporting documentation that demonstrates the ward's incapacity or vulnerability. 

How to File a Guardianship Case in Oklahoma

When filing for guardianship in Oklahoma, it is important to follow specific steps to ensure your loved one(s) are cared for properly. The steps for appointing a legal guardian in Oklahoma include: 

  • Filing a petition: A petition must be filed in the district court where the ward resides. 

  • Notification: All interested parties, including the proposed ward and close relatives, must be notified. 

  • Hearing: A court hearing is held to evaluate the necessity of guardianship and consider any objections. 

  • Court decision: The judge decides based on evidence and testimony whether to appoint a guardian and may issue Letters of Guardianship to formalize the appointment. 

Engaging a skilled family law attorney can make all the difference when petitioning for guardianship. From preparing necessary documentation to representing clients in court hearings, an attorney handles all aspects of the case professionally and ethically. 

Why Choose Funderburk and Associates PLLC?

At Funderburk and Associates PLLC, we are known for our dedication to client advocacy and commitment to achieving positive outcomes in guardianship cases. With a deep understanding of Oklahoma's guardianship laws, we provide personalized attention to each client, addressing their unique needs with care. 

Guardianship FAQ

Are there any alternatives to guardianship in Oklahoma?

Yes, Oklahoma recognizes several alternatives to guardianship, including: 

  • Power of attorney: Allows an individual to appoint someone to make decisions on their behalf without court involvement 

  • Health care proxy: Designates someone to make medical decisions if the individual becomes incapacitated 

  • Trusts: Can be established to manage an individual’s finances without requiring guardianship 

These alternatives can provide similar protections while preserving more of the individual’s autonomy. 

Can a ward challenge guardianship in Oklahoma?

Yes, a ward can challenge guardianship. They can file a petition with the court to review the necessity of the guardianship, request a different guardian, or seek termination of the guardianship if they believe it is no longer needed. The court will hold a hearing to consider the ward’s concerns and make a decision based on the evidence presented. 

How much does it cost to establish a guardianship in Oklahoma?

The cost of establishing guardianship in Oklahoma can vary widely but generally includes: 

  • Filing fees: Court filing fees, which can range from $100 to $300 

  • Attorney fees: Legal representation costs, which can vary depending on the complexity of the case

  • Other costs: Additional expenses such as background checks, medical evaluations, and guardian training 

Consulting with an experienced attorney can provide a clearer estimate based on the specific circumstances of the case. 

What happens to a guardianship if the guardian dies or is unable to fulfill their duties in Oklahoma?

If a guardian dies or becomes unable to fulfill their duties, the court must appoint a successor guardian. Interested parties can petition the court to become the new guardian, or the court may select a suitable candidate. The process is designed to promote continuity in the ward’s care and protection. 

How is guardianship terminated in Oklahoma?

In Oklahoma, guardianship can be terminated through several means: 

  • Court order: A court can terminate guardianship if it finds that the ward no longer needs a guardian

  • Ward's death: Guardianship automatically ends upon the ward's death

  • Guardian's resignation: A guardian can request to resign, but the court must approve and appoint a successor guardian

  • Change in ward’s condition: If the ward regains capacity, they or another interested party can petition the court to terminate the guardianship

At Funderburk and Associates, we serve clients in Tulsa and across Oklahoma, including Cherry Street, Patrick Henry, McClure Park, Sapulpa, Bixby, Broken Arrow, and Owasso, Oklahoma. With extensive experience in guardianship cases, we offer reliable and compassionate legal representation.

Whether you are seeking to establish guardianship or need advice on fulfilling your duties as a guardian, we are here to help.   

Guardianship Attorney Serving Tulsa, Oklahoma

Guardianship proceedings can be emotionally draining and legally complex, but a skilled attorney can make all the difference in achieving a favorable outcome in your case. If you’re facing challenges related to guardianship in Oklahoma, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for legal support. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward restoring proper care and protection for your loved one today.