Guardianship In Oklahoma

Authored By: Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. LSC Funded


What Is Guardianship?
Guardianship is a legal proceeding in which the court can appoint a person to take care of another person and/or their property.  The person who is appointed by the court is called a guardian.  The person for whom the guardian is appointed is called a ward.

In Oklahoma, you may seek a guardianship over an adult or a child.
There are three basic types of guardianship:

  • general guardianship- a guardianship over the ward and/or all of the ward's property in Oklahoma.
  • limited guardianship- the guardian has only limited powers over the ward and/or the ward's property; and,
  • special guardianship- a guardianship in which a guardian is appointed for an emergency purpose and usually lasts for no more than 10 days.

What Does A Guardian Do?
If the court appoints a guardian, the guardian must follow certain rules created by the court.
A guardian must:

  • be responsible for the care and control of the ward.
  • carefully follow any directions given by the court.
  • have enough contact with the ward to ensure that the ward is safe and healthy.
  • report to the court, usually every year, concerning the health and finances of the ward.

When Is Guardianship Needed?
Whether the guardianship is for an adult or a child, the reason for needing one is basically the same to provide for the legal care of an individual who cannot care for him or herself.

ADULT - Guardianship over an adult is granted when the ward is fully or partially incapacitated. An incapacitated person is one who is over the age of eighteen (18) and who is unable to make decisions regarding health or finances for him or herself.

MINOR (CHILD) - A minor means a person under the age of eighteen (18) years.  Guardianship over a child is usually granted when the court finds that the guardianship is necessary. In most cases, the guardianship of a child is necessary when the parents of the child are unable to care for the child. Most guardians of children are close relatives, such as grandparents, aunts or uncles. In the case of the death of the parents of a child, the parents may have chosen who they would like to serve as guardian of their children by nominating that person in their will.

When Does A Guardianship End?
A guardian may be removed if the court finds that he/she is not performing the duties required by the court. The court may remove a guardian or terminate a guardianship if the court finds that the guardianship is no longer necessary. In either case, in order for the guardianship to end, the court must order it to be terminated.