• Terminology provided by National Guardianship Association
   Notes:
  • Black’s refers to Black’s Law Dictionary 8th Edition, unless otherwise specified
  • E & S refers to the NGA Ethics and Standards for Guardians
  • Select refers to the Report from the Subcommittee on Housing and Consumer Interests of the Select Committee on Aging House of Representatives

Definitions
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Phone  (920)553-8780     Fax  (920)553-8781            Email  corporateguardians(a)charter.net
Administrator/Executor/Personal Representative
A person appointed by the court to manage the assets and liabilities of an intestate decedent. Executor is a person named by the testator to carry out the provisions in the testator’s will. (Black’s)
Advance Directive
A written instruction, such as a living will or durable power of attorney for health care, which guides care when an individual is terminally ill or incapacitated and unable to communicate his/her desires.
(E & S)
Advocate
A person who assists, defends, or pleads, or prosecutes for another. (Black’s)
Best Interest
That course of action that maximizes what is best for a ward and that includes consideration of the least intrusive, most normalizing, and least restrictive course of action possible given the needs of the ward.
(E & S)
Capacity
Legal qualification, competency, power, or fitness. Ability to understand the nature of the effects of one’s acts. (Black’s 5th Edition)
Decisional Capacity
The ability to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of a decision and to reach and communicate an informed decision in the matter. (Black’s)
Competence:
A basic or minimal ability to do something; qualify esp. to testify <competence of a witness> (Black’s)
Competency:
The mental ability to understand problems and make decisions. (Black’s)
Conflict of Interest
Situations in which an individual may receive financial or material gain or business advantage from a decision made on behalf of another. Situations, which create a public perception of a conflict of interest, should be handled in the same manner as situations in which an actual conflict of interest exists. (E & S)
Conservator
See Guardian.
Court Order
A legal document issued by the court and signed by a judge. Examples include a letter of guardianship; spelling out directions for the care of the ward and the estate and authorization or denial of a request for action. (E & S)
Dementia
A category of disorders characterized by the development of multiple cognitive deficits (including memory impairment) that are due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition, to the persisting effects of a substance or to multiple etiologies (e.g., the combined effects of cerebral vascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease). (DSM-IV)
Developmental Disability
A severe, chronic disability of an individual 5 years of age or older that:
A. Is attributable to a mental or physical impairment or combination of mental and physical impairments;
B. Is manifested before the individual attains age 22;
C. Is likely to continue indefinitely;
D. Results in substantial functional limitations in three or more of the following areas of major life activity
1. Self-care
2. Receptive and expressive language
3. Learning
4. Mobility
5. Self-direction
6. Capacity for independent living
7. Economic self-sufficiency; and
E. Reflects the individual’s need for a combination and sequence of events of special,
interdisciplinary, or generic services, supports, or other assistance that is of lifelong or
extended duration and is individually planned and coordinated. (DD Act)
Disabled Person
A person 18 years of age or older deemed by the Court to be lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning the care of his person or financial affairs. See also Ward.
Estate
Both real and personal, tangible and intangible, and includes anything that may be the subject of ownership. (E & S)
Fiduciary
An individual, agency or organization that has agreed to undertake for another a special obligation of trust and confidence, having the duty to act primarily for another’s benefit and subject to the standard of
care imposed by law or contract. (Select)
Functional Assessment
A diagnostic tool that measures the overall well-being of an individual and provides a picture of how well the person is able to function in a variety of multidimensional situations. (University of South Florida Gerontology Department, Eric Pfeiffer, MD, Director)
Guardian
An individual or organization named by order of the court to exercise any or all powers and rights over the person and/or the estate of an individual. The term includes conservators and certified private or public fiduciaries. All guardians are accountable to the court. (E & S)
Corporate Guardian
A corporation that is named as guardian for an individual and that may receive compensation in its role as guardian with court approval. Corporate guardians may include banks, trust departments,  and nonprofit entities.
(E & S)
Emergency/Temporary Guardian
A guardian whose authority is temporary and usually only appointed in an emergency. (E & S)
Family Guardian
An individual who is appointed as guardian for a person to whom he or she is related by blood or marriage. In most cases when there is a willing and able family member who has no conflict with the prospective ward, the court prefers to appoint the family member as guardian. On court approval, a family guardian may receive reasonable compensation for time and expenses relating to care of the ward. (E & S)
Guardian Ad Litem
A person appointed by the Court to make an impartial inquiry into a situation and report to the Court.
Guardian of the Person
A guardian who possesses any or all powers and rights granted by the court with regard to the personal affairs of the individual. (E & S).
Guardian of the Estate
A guardian who possesses any or all powers and rights with regard to the property of the individual. (E & S)
Limited Guardian
A guardian who is appointed by the court to exercise the legal rights and powers specifically designated by a court order entered after the court has found that the ward lacks capacity to do some, but not all, of the tasks necessary to care for his or her person or property, or after the person voluntarily petitions for appointment of a limited guardian. A limited guardian may possess fewer than all of the legal rights and powers of a plenary guardian. Also Partial Guardian. (E & S)
Master Guardian
An advanced level guardian who demonstrates a high degree of competence in managing complex issues. (E & S)
Registered Guardian
An entry-level guardian who demonstrates a basic knowledge and understanding of
guardianship, ethical principles and standards of good practice. (E & S)
Standby Guardian
A person, agency or organization whose appointment as guardian shall become effective without further proceedings immediately upon the death, incapacity, resignation, or temporary absence or unavailability of the initially appointed guardian. (Select and E & S)
Successor Guardian
A guardian who is appointed to act upon the death or resignation of a previous guardian. (E & S)
Volunteer Guardian
A person who is not related to the ward by blood or marriage and who does not receive any compensation in his or her role as guardian. The guardian may receive reimbursement of expenses or a minimum stipend with court approval. (E & S)
Incapacitated or Incompetent Person/Conservatee
Any person who is impaired by an intoxicant, by mental illness or deficiency, physical illness or disability to the extent that personal decision-making is impossible. (Black’s) Also Incompetent Person. (Black’s)
Incapacity or Incompetency
A person’s inability to make and then act upon personal and/or property decisions on his or her own behalf.
Indigent
One who is needy and poor, or one who has not sufficient property to furnish him/her a living nor anyone to support him/her who he/she is entitled to look for support (Black’s 5th Edition)
Informed Consent
A person’s agreement to allow something to happen, made with knowledge of risks involved and the alternatives. A patient’s knowing choice about a medical treatment or procedure, made after a physician or other healthcare provider discloses whatever information a reasonable prudent provider within the medical community would give to a patient regarding the risks involved in the proposed treatment or procedure. (Black’s)
Interested Person
Individuals who, according to state statute, have a right to notice regarding a guardianship cause of action. This may include parents, siblings, spouse, and residential provider.
Least Intrusive
A mechanism, course of action, or situation, which allows the ward the greatest opportunity for autonomy with a minimum of intervention. (Select)
Petition
A formal, written request presented to a court or other official body. (Black’s) For example, relative to guardianship, the document filed to initiate the process for adjudication of disability and appointment of a guardian.
Physician’s Report
A report required, in some states, in relationship to a guardianship proceeding, which substantiates the need for a substitute decision maker. Also Examining Committee Report.
Prudent Person
A person who acts cautiously in the handling of assets. See Prudent Person Rule. (E & S)
Prudent Person Rule
An investment standard that considers the reasonableness of an investment based on whether a prudent person of discretion and intelligence, who is seeking reasonable income and preservation of capital, would make that investment. (E & S)
Prudent Investor Rule
All investments must be considered as part of an overall portfolio rather than individually. No investment is inherently imprudent or prudent. The rule recognizes that certain nontraditional investment vehicles may actually be prudent and the guardian who does not use risk-reducing strategies may be penalized. Under most circumstances, the ward’s assets must be diversified. The guardian is obligated to
spread portfolio investments across asset classes and potentially across global markets to both enhance performance and reduce risk. The possible effects of inflation must be considered as part of the investment strategy. The guardian shall either demonstrate investment skill in managing assets or shall delegate investment management to another qualified party. (E & S)
Psychotropic Medications
Any medication prescribed for the management of behavior.
Representative Payee
An individual, agency, or organization named by a governmental agency to receive government benefits on behalf of, and for the benefit of, the beneficiary entitled to such benefits. (Select)
Substituted Judgment
The principle of decision-making which requires implementation of the course of action which comports with the individual ward’s or beneficiary’s known wishes expressed prior to the appointment of the guardian or representative payee, provided the individual was once capable of developing views relevant to the matter at issue and reliable evidence of these views remains. Current opinions and desires of the ward or beneficiary shall be examined and are relevant to a determination of the ward’s or beneficiary’s views prior to appointment of the guardian or representative payee. (Select)
Ward
A person for whom a guardian has been appointed. Synonyms include Conservatee, disabled person, protected person, and incapacitated person. (E & S)