Justin S. Eppler May 30, 2019

An alarming percentage of the country’s population does not have an estate plan. More than likely, this includes a great number of Alaska residents. If some of those residents reach a point where they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves, it may be necessary to ask the court to appoint them a guardian. When dealing with this elder law issue, the appointed individual will need to take guardianship classes.

Being a guardian is an immense responsibility. The person appointed will be making choices that affect the course of another person’s life. Recognizing the importance of this position, the Alaska courts require new guardians to complete at least one hour of approved courses within 30 days of being appointed.

The first classes are designed to answer questions that many people with older relatives have, not just those appointed as guardians. When is a guardian needed? Is there a better, less restrictive way to handle the situation? What does the appointment process entail?

The third class speaks more to those appointed as a guardian, but anyone could benefit from the information. It discusses court reports, making decisions and dealing with money issues, among other things. Fulfilling this education obligation requires passing a quiz with at least an 80% score before filing proof of completion with the court.

While these classes do provide information, they may not answer all of the questions a new guardian may have. They also do not provide much needed assistance in ensuring compliance with all court requirements. Those who feel that a loved one may need a guardian may want to consult with an elder law attorney before moving forward.