If a person is no longer capable of taking care of himself or herself or of his or her affairs, a guardian may be appointed for him or her.

When to petition for a guardian

If, for reason of old age or ill health, a person no longer can take care of himself or herself or of his or her affairs, the district court or a guardianship authority may appoint a guardian for him or her; the guardian is to take care of the affairs of the person.

If the whereabouts of a living person are unknown and his or her financial affairs need to be taken care of, the district court is to appoint a guardian for that person to see to the management of his or her assets.

If there is a risk that an ill person by his or her own action is liable to incur financial problems or that he or she will be taken advantage of, the district court may both appoint a guardian and disqualify the person e.g. from making large purchases or other transactions. This measure is called restricting the legal capacity of the person.

In extreme cases, the district court may deprive a person of legal capacity, in effect disqualifying him or her from managing any of his or her affairs. In this event, the guardian manages all of the affairs of the person.

Where to petition for a guardian

In a matter relating to guardianship or the restriction of the legal capacity of a person, the first contact should be taken with the guardianship authority, that is, the state local office. The competent guardianship authority is the local office in whose district the senior or ill person resides.

Who can petition for a guardian

  • The state local office
  • The senior or ill person himself or herself
  • The parent, spouse, child or other person close to the person for whom the guardian is to be appointed

Who can act as a guardian

  • A close relative or another person close to the senior or ill person
  • The public guardian
  • Another appropriate person.

Continuing power of attorney

By issuing a continuing power of attorney you can make sure that your affairs will be taken care of even if, for instance, illness or deteriorating health later makes you lose your capacity to see to them yourself.

Published 25.7.2019