Effective assistance planning can generally eliminate the need for a guardianship, even if the person is clearly incompetent. However, if the person has neglected assistance planning, or if there is improper conduct by the person providing care, a guardianship may be necessary.

Guardianships involve the determination of competence, the appointment of a guardian for the person and property of the person (the ward), the care of the ward, and the management of the ward’s property in accordance with the requirements of guardianship law. Some cases may be uncontested. However, if there are disputes as to the competence of the person or the person to be the guardian, or over the management of the ward’s property, the proceeding may be contested.

Guardianships proceedings are never simple, but they can be straightforward and can be handled smoothly. Contested guardianship proceedings become quite complex as issues such as the mental condition of a person, the best person to act as guardian, and the use of funds are subjective and subject one to the judgment and discretion of the trial judge.