Volunteer Guardian - F.A.Q.

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Frequently Asked Questions

These are common questions about the Volunteer Guardian Program.? If you are looking for answers to general guardianship questions visit the Franklin County Probate Court - Guardian Information webpage.


Aside from the court hearing, which will be during normal ?business hours? most of your responsibilities can be fulfilled during weekends and evenings. Our Basic Training classes are held at convenient times for the current volunteer group. Most visits to your ward can be at hours convenient to you both.

The fee is charged to pay the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation for processing your fingerprints. These steps are taken as a precaution, because the person who needs a guardian is vulnerable, and we are certifying to the Probate Court that you are a suitable applicant.

That will depend on the specifics you choose: type of case, gender, disability, location, etc. For most volunteers it generally takes from 2 to 5 months.

No, you don?t. If you have ever been to the doctor, had a child or parent needing medical care, you already know how to ask the questions you need to ask. Doctors are supposed to explain options in language you can understand in order to have the ?informed consent? they need to provide treatment.

We require quarterly (every three months) reports that include the number of visits and number of hours spent on behalf of your ward. They also include a summary of actions you have taken on medical and daily care issues. Every year the Probate Court expects a report from you and the facility where your ward resides. We will notify you prior to the due date of these reports, send you the forms you need to complete and do the actual filing of the report at the court.

We really want you to choose the case and person that will work best for you. That way we know you will be more likely to live up to the commitment to visit and stay involved. When we think we have someone that would be a good match for you, we will tell you about that person. You will have the opportunity to visit the person and decide if you want to be the guardian.

  1. I work during the day. How can I volunteer?
  2. Why do I have to pay the $20 fee for a background check?
  3. How long does it take from the beginning of the process to appointment as guardian?
  4. Do I need a medical background to make decisions for my person?
  5. How much paperwork will I have to do?
  6. Do you match me to a person, or do I get to choose?



We ask that you make the commitment to visit the person twice a month. There is no minimum amount of time that the visit must last. Your visit should be sufficient to see how your person is, and to talk to staff about them, as needed.

At Basic Training you will learn the components of Informed Consent and how to do your homework when medical decisions are needed. The VGP staff is always available for consultation. As long as you have considered the information and asked questions about anything you don?t understand, no one can question your decision.

We will give you a form to leave with the facility. It gives them permission to do emergency medical interventions if they cannot reach you. The VGP office will need to have information about how to reach you, should an emergency occur with your ward, as staff cannot substitute for you as guardian. You can then respond by fax or telephone to give the necessary treatment consent.

This is not a required part of your volunteer commitment, and it will depend on a number of things, if you wish to do it.

Folks living in nursing homes have routine, quiet lives. The presence of babies, children and pets can have a wonderful life-enhancing effect. Although family members can be involved, only you will have the authority to make decisions, however.

You are not required or allowed to spend money for your ward. Each ward has a patient account at the facility to be used for special purchases. If you wish, you are allowed to buy something and give it as a gift.

The expertise available on staff at the Area Agency on Aging is varied and accessible through VGP. You will also have access to legal advice from your volunteer attorney if it is needed.

  1. Is there a minimum amount of time I must spend with my person?
  2. What if I make the wrong medical decision for my person?
  3. What if I am out of town or unavailable when my person gets sick?
  4. Can I take my person home?
    1. Is your person physically well enough to leave the facility?
    2. Are you comfortable taking responsibility for them on an outing?
    3. Your home/auto insurance policy covers liability just as it would for any other guest in your car or home.

  5. Can other members of my family be involved?
  6. Am I responsible for my person?s new clothing?
  7. Who can help me make decisions about my person?



  1. What will I have to do in Probate Court?

    The court is informal, but the judge or a magistrate (in larger counties) will place you under oath and ask you why the person needs a guardian. The VGP staff and your attorney will prepare you for the hearing. You should allow about an hour for the process to be complete.

  2. Will an attorney represent me?

    VGP has a group of attorneys who volunteer to assist with the cases. The type of assistance will vary based on the county and the type of case. In all cases VGP staff will be able to access legal advice should it be necessary. The legal situations of the people we serve are not often complex.

  3. If my life changes and I need to stop being the guardian, can I do that?

    We know that volunteers? lives change over time. If this means you need to end your involvement, we will find another volunteer to become successor guardian in your place. The court will hold you responsible until the hearing appointing the new volunteer can be held. The sooner you let us know that your circumstances have changed, the sooner we will be able to match your person with someone else.