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Guardianship in Kansas

Guardianship is the process of becoming a legal parent-figure or decision-maker for a person who cannot care for themselves. Under Kansas law, a guardian can be appointed for a minor child or for an adult with an impairment who needs a guardian. In either case, the process is similar: 

  1. a petition and other documents are filed with a court; 
  2. notice of the proceedings is given to all necessary parties (such as family members); 
  3. typically another attorney or “guardian ad litem” is appointed to represent the proposed ward (person who allegedly needs a guardian);
  4. the court holds a hearing to determine the need for a guardian and the fitness of the proposed guardian(s); and
  5. a decision is made by the judge; if the petition is granted, an order is issued appointing a guardian.

An appointed guardian must file reports with the court at least annually regarding the condition of the ward (the person who needs a guardian).

Under Kansas law, any parent can name another person (a guardian) to care for minor children if the parents die. But a named guardian must be appointed by a court before the guardian has any authority to care for a child. Additionally, all living/legal parents must consent to the guardianship (unless their parental rights were terminated in a formal legal proceeding). 

The naming of guardians for minor children is typically found in a Last Will and Testament (Will), but it can be in another document. Wills are a common place for guardian nominations because Wills and guardianships are both governed by the probate code in Kansas (and are often heard by the same Judge). 

Parents can name one or more guardian(s) plus ‘backups’ (in case the first cannot be appointed due to death, disability, or other circumstance). The court is required to consider the nomination(s) of the last deceased parent before any other nominations.

Statutory reference: Kansas Statutes Annotated (K.S.A.) 59-3054. Right to nominate guardian or conservator, or both.

For additional information or assistance naming a guardian for a minor child or with a guardianship proceeding, contact the attorney.


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