News & Insights

Filing for an Emergency Temporary Guardianship Over a Loved One
July 30, 2014
by Marcellus Lebbin


South Bend / Mishawaka, IN – With the aging population many families are faced with loved ones growing old and no longer being able to properly manage their personal and financial matters. In this situation, one solution is to enter a courtroom and petition to have a guardianship entered over the loved one. In some instances, this may need to be done immediately to prevent harm and an emergency petition may be filed. In Indiana the law allows such petition and even holds that the loved one in question does not have to be notified of the petition or present at the hearing before an order establishing an emergency temporary guardianship may be entered.

Circumstances can arise where the actions of a loved one raise serious concerns as to their decision making ability. We have seen instances where a loved one has hired a “personal secretary” over fifty years younger and then granted their new assistant full access to their bank accounts and investments. It is also common in these circumstances to see shopping trips, excursions to casinos and other gifts made to the new younger companion. This activity is especially troubling to a family when the loved one’s longtime spouse is denied access to funds due to money transfers into new accounts or investments.

The financial actions of the loved one and their medical history will play a significant role in the Court’s determination of whether or not the loved one should be placed under an emergency temporary guardianship. These actions are often contested and any decision to pursue an emergency temporary guardianship should not be made lightly. However, there are circumstances when there is no other way to protect the loved one from the personal and financial harm resulting from their lack of ability to make sound financial or personal decisions.

If there is an emergency then the loved one need not be notified or present at the initial hearing establishing the temporary guardianship. The loved one does need not be notified because an emergency temporary guardianship is meant to deter immediate and irreparable damage and requires sudden implementation of the guardianship. While and individual will not have to be notified of an emergency temporary guardianship action, they will be notified once the guardianship is established regarding a future hearing to establish a permanent guardianship over that individual.