Guardianship

If your adult child with a mental disorder or intellectual disability is unable to continuously uphold their rights and interests, you should consider establishing guardianship. This can be useful if the child has great difficulty, for example, in concluding contracts, dealing with public authorities, or making financial transactions. The guardian is usually the mother, father, or another close family member. Establishing a close person as a guardian involves, among other things, evaluating the personality traits of the guardian, their ability to defend the interests of the ward, and the relations between the guardian and the ward.

Establishing guardianship is not necessary if the interests of the adult child can be protected through grant of authority or with the aid of other family members or assistants. The following list of questions is designed to help you determine whether you should establish guardianship:

  • Is your adult child oriented to time, place, their person, and everyday affairs? To what extent?
  • Can they manage independently, for example, when visiting a bank, public agency, or notary?
  • Do they understand the consequences of transactions, such as having to pay for a purchase at a store? Do they understand the value of money?
  • Are they at risk of exploitation?

If you have been established as the guardian of your child, you also have the right to cover the child’s daily and long-term expenses from their pension for incapacity for work (work ability allowance) and their disability allowance for a person of working age, as well as, under a separate court judgment, any estate or savings belonging to the child, but the court has the right to verify the appropriateness of your activities. In such a case, you will need to submit an annual report to the court on the performance of your duties. The report must list the expenses incurred and include supporting documents. For expenses related to daily subsistence (e.g., food, toiletries, transport), the report must indicate the average monthly amount, and no supporting documents are required. For larger purchases (such as furniture), you should keep the purchase documents and be prepared to justify the expenses. Upon establishment of guardianship, you will also be told when the court will make a decision on whether to extend or terminate the guardianship. The extension procedure is similar to that of the establishment of guardianship. However, if the documents concerning the child or the testimonies of the parties reveal that the need for guardianship has not changed, a new examination will not be necessary.

Instructions for establishing guardianship can be found on the website of the Estonian court system.

Illustratsioon: noor mees ja naine hüppamas suure karika kõrval.
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