Can a convicted felon be a guardian of his mother?

A fellow caregiver asked...

Can a convicted felon be a guardian of his mother?

Expert Answer

Barbara Repa, a senior editor, is an attorney, a journalist specializing in aging issues, and the author of Your Rights in the Workplace (Nolo), now in its 10th edition.

Just a few states"”including Arkansas, Florida and Washington"”have laws that put an outright ban on people who have been convicted of felonies from serving as an adult guardian.

About a dozen other state laws require the potential guardian to disclose the prior felony and will then consider whether it is in the best interests to appoint the person despite the conviction.

But in most states, the statutes controlling who can and cannot serve as a guardian make no mention of felony convictions. In these states, too, however, a judge has the discretion to decide whether or not a person would be a good choice as guardian"”and a past felony conviction might weigh in the mix. Information related to this weighing would be what type of felony was involved, how long ago it occurred, how the person has conducted himself or herself since then"”and the quality of his or her relationship with the person for whom the guardianship is sought.

To find out the law controlling in a specific state, do a search of the name of the state and "guardian" and "felon."