If you’re considering taking on the role of legal guardian for another person, you’ll likely have questions about the process and what your responsibilities will be. One issue that doesn’t come up as often as others is that of the guardianship bond, but it’s important you understand what it means for you.
Initial appointment as a guardian
When a petition is filed to appoint a guardian over an individual, the court which oversees it will have a number of issues to resolve. The court will determine whether the individual suffers from an incapacitation which necessitates the appointment of a guardian. It will decide whether you are qualified and suitable to take on the role of guardian. And it will rule on the extent of your authority, as the person’s guardian, and how long the guardianship will last.
Your responsibilities may include maintaining a bond
The purpose of appointing a guardian is to benefit the incapacitated person, not the guardian. As such, your relationship to the protected person is that of a fiduciary – whatever the scope of your authority, you must exercise it in the protected person’s interest.
You can think of a guardianship bond as a kind of insurance policy designed to provide a level of protection for the subject of the guardianship. Indiana law requires the court to set a bond amount in each guardianship case, unless it finds that a bond is unnecessary. When the court sets a bond, it does so based upon the worth of the assets and income controlled by the guardian. The guardian is required to obtain and maintain a bond in that amount, to help ensure the guardian acts for the protected person’s benefit. If the guardian fails to do so, the bond is forfeit and the guardian can be forced to pay the entire amount.