Often we assist clients with family member or friends in Korea that are better off under the care of a trustworthy person who can manage their personal and property related responsibilities. Under Korean law, it is possible for a court to appoint a guardian to take care of the best interest of a ward. A “ward” is a person who lacks the capacity, either physically or mentally, to take care of themselves. Thus, courts in Korea can appoint a guardian to take care of this ward of the guardian. A foreign national may even be a guardian or a ward under Korean Guardianship Law. In the West this law is sometimes referred to as Conservatorship Law. In Korea, a conservatorship is referred to as a Guardianship.
For an interesting article dealing with guardianship in Korea please see: Guardianship Law in Korea: The Lotte Family Saga
Types of Guardians under Korean Guardianship Law
- Adult guardian (성년후견인): If an adult chronically lacks the mental competence to manage their own matters due to illness, disability, old age, or other conditions, a Korean court may appoint an adult guardian. This type of guardianship in Korea gives near total power over the ward to the Adult Guardian.
- Limited guardian (한정후견인): A person may also be designated as a “special guardian,” entrusted with restricted authority over the ward’s interests. For example, a special guardian may be granted the legal authority in Korea to decide how to handle the ward’s assets without being granted any control over the ward’s person.
- Specified guardian (특정후견인): A specified guardian is a person appointed to represent a person’s interests in relation to a particular court proceeding or process.
The process of appointing a guardian through Korean courts
The Korean Family Courts, typically, has the authority to appoint a guardian in Korea. A general adult guardian is one who is in charge of both the ward’s financial interests and personal welfare. The Korean family court, or one of its branches, has authority over the ward’s address and will hear the guardianship case. When the Family Court is not present in the ward’s address, typically, a district court or a branch court has jurisdiction over the matter.
Typically, after an evaluation of the ward’s health by a doctor, the court proceedings begin. The court will often question the ward and hear his/her testimony regarding the guardianship. So that the ward can make the most use of his or her remaining capacity and choose a suitable guardian. The court has the power to decide the beginning of guardianship, the choice of a guardian, change of guardian, cessation of guardianship, the extent of the legal representative’s authority, etc.
Korean court expenses
The court costs includes the non-litigation costs like stamp tax, processing server fees, assessment fees, etc. Under the Family Litigation Act Section 37-2 the court may pay a portion of these court costs on application or ex officio for a litigant who has limited financial resources or whose case would have a significant impact on the family’s living situation.
You can schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced lawyer in the Korean Adult Guardian laws at: Schedule a Call with an Attorney in Korea.
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