Challenging or Contesting A Guardianship

In La Grange, contesting a guardianship can occur either after filing an Application for Guardianship but before it’s granted or at a later time when circumstances warrant, post-establishment by the court. While the procedures may vary, the fundamental principles remain consistent.

Typically, if you’re a family member, interested party, or the ward and believe that the prospective guardian is unsuitable due to their character or abilities, or is acting unethically—with evidence to support your claim—a challenge can be filed before the judge hears the Application for Guardianship.

Alternatively, if, after a guardianship is established, you discover the guardian is mistreating or neglecting the ward, has a criminal conviction, is dishonestly handling the ward’s finances, or has committed fraud, you should promptly contest the guardianship.

For an effective contest, enlist the expertise of experienced lawyers in guardianship challenges, such as those at Stepp Law Firm PLLC. They will file the contest, gather the necessary evidence, and compellingly present your challenge during a hearing or trial.

During the proceeding, both you and the guardian can present documents and witnesses. The judge will assess the evidence, determining whether the guardian should continue in their role. If not, the judge may appoint a new guardian.

The complexity of the hearing depends on various factors, including the facts and the court. Some hearings may be brief, while others can be more extensive. It’s crucial to hire an experienced lawyer to prepare your case, present evidence, manage witnesses, and effectively cross-examine the proposed or appointed guardian and their witnesses.

Our La Grange guardianship lawyers at Stepp Law Firm PLLC boast courtroom experience and are an excellent choice, regardless of the case’s complexity. We are dedicated to helping you achieve your desired results at a reasonable cost.

FAQ Guardianship Contest or Challenge

Yes. If the guardianship application is on file you can contest it if you are the ward, a family member or an interested party. After a guardianship is granted you can still challenge it by filing in the court where the guardianship was granted.

Yes, You need an experienced lawyer who is both skilled in probate law as well as trial law.

Generally, a suit to contest or remove a guardian is based on evidence that the guardian to be appointed or one who has already been appointed and is serving as guardian is unfit to care for the ward, has done unethical and or illegal acts in handling the ward’s affairs or has failed to follow the orders of the court.

  • The guardian has neglected the ward, such as failing to provide appropriate nutrition, medical care, clothing or housing.
  • The guardian has committed a crime of which he or she has been convicted.
  • The guardian has made material misrepresentations or committed fraud.
  • The guardian has or there is evidence that the guardian has improperly spent the ward’s money and or taken money or property of the ward for his or her own use.
  • The guardian has charged the ward’s estate inappropriate or excessive fees.
  • The guardian has failed to follow the dictates of the court in its order granting the guardianship.

It can be resolved by either, depending on the facts and the court. If the contest is straightforward and you have the evidence to prove that the guardian should be removed, a hearing may suffice. However, this is not often the case and facts must be properly brought before court in a trial. Here, the person contesting the guardian must present documentary evidence and present witnesses to prove that the guardian is unfit or that the terms of the guardianship need be altered. Some of this evidence will be objected to by the guardian and your witnesses will be cross-examined. Your attorney will then have the opportunity to cross-examine the guardian and object to his or her evidence presented that there has been no wrongdoing. This is why you must hire lawyers who are knowledgeable not only in guardianship law, but are also excellent and experienced trial lawyers such as those at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C.

Again, this depends on the case and the court. A simple case with evidence that is uncontestable may take an hour or two. A more hotly contested proceeding to remove the guardian can take several days, depending on the amount of documentary evidence and the number of witnesses.

The judge makes a determination based on the evidence introduced as to whether the guardian has committed the acts alleged and if that warrants the guardian’s removal. If it does, the judge may either appoint a temporary guardian or a new guardian for the ward.

With a straightforward case where these is strong evidence that the guardian should be removed, the attorney’s fees and costs could be as little as $5,000. This, unfortunately is rarely the case, as most such contests involve a number of documents which must be subpoenaed and then proven up, and a number of witnesses that must be presented and examined. Such more complex litigation may cost $20,000 or more. Again, this is why you should hire knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who know the best and most efficient way to prepare and present your case such as those at Stepp & Sullivan, P.C.

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