Q. Describe the role of the court in the guardianship process, starting with when the court is notified and how, and what happens before LMM comes into the picture.
A. The Application for Guardianship is usually the start of the guardianship process. The Court is then tasked with ensuring that the person’s rights are protected; determining if the person is incompetent and, if so, what is the least restrictive alternative available to assist the person.
Other persons who need a guardian may come to our attention through Adult Protective Services or a civil commitment process.
Q. How does the court then intersect with LMM?
A. The Court may make a referral to LMM for guardianship services. Sometimes it is for a new guardianship, other times it may be to take over an existing guardianship. The Court may request LMM to take over an existing guardianship if the guardian is no longer capable of managing the guardianship. This could happen if the guardian dies, becomes incompetent, resigns, etc.
Q. Guardianship placement doesn’t mean the court’s process is complete. What does the ongoing involvement of the court look like?
A. A guardian is required to provide a Guardian’s Report, Guardian’s Plan and Statement of Expert Evaluation on an annual basis. The Court reviews these documents to determine if any further Court action is required. If additional action is required, the Court may set a pretrial or hearing to further determine the best alternatives for the person.
Q. How long have you been a judge, and why do you get fulfillment in this type of work as it relates to guardianship?
A. I have been the Judge of the Lorain County Probate Court for over 14 years.
We deal with persons who are at the most vulnerable point in their life. They have often been the victims of neglect, abuse, exploitation and self-neglect. The fulfillment comes from knowing that we made a difference in someone’s life for the better.
Q. Explain why, as a judge, you put your faith in the hands of LMM’s guardians?
A. LMM has a proven track record of caring experience. LMM’s guardians that serve the Lorain County Probate Court have a deep passion for their work and display compassion for the persons they serve.
Simply put, I trust LMM guardians.