What Is Guardianship/Conservatorship?
Guardianship, or conservatorship, is when the court appoints an individual or professional to act on behalf of a person who can no longer handle his or her own financial or personal affairs. Often these protectors are appointed due to physical, mental or age limitations. The guardian, or conservator, will exercise some or all legal rights of an incapacitated person, or ward. These individuals can be the guardian of a person, overseeing their daily care and activities, or they could be conservator of an estate, overseeing only the financial affairs of the individual.
Who Can Be A Guardian?
Usually a family member or other interested individual can petition the court for guardianship/conservatorship. However, in some cases, a relative or other appropriate person is not qualified or willing to take on those responsibilities. In these instances, the court can authorize a Public Fiduciary of the State to act as guardian or conservator for those under their care.
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Types of Guardianship
1. Limited Guardianship
This is when the guardian has decision-making responsibility and authority for only selected areas that the incapacitated person cannot manage on his or her own i.e. healthcare.
2. Temporary Guardianship
If it is in the incapacitated person’s best interest, the court can appoint a guardian for only a limited period of time i.e. 90 days.
3. Joint Guardianship
Again, if it is in the best interest of the ward, the court can decide to appoint more than one person to act as the person’s guardians at the same time. They will share decision-making authority and responsibility.
How Mental Incapacity is Determined
1. A petition will be filed with the appropriate state court.
2. A court appointed physician and investigator will determine capacity.
3. The court appointed physician and investigator will then meet with the person and prepare a written report about their mental and physical conditions and file it with the court.
4. An attorney will be appointed to represent the alleged incapacitated person and meet with them.
5. After informing the alleged incapacitated person about court proceeding and reading the petition, the attorney will also prepare a written report of their meeting and file it with the court.
6. A judge will review the petition, the report from the committee, and the report from the attorney.
7. At a hearing, all arguments will be made for or against the need for guardianship or conservatorship.
8. The judge will make a final determination, ruling whether or not the alleged incapacitated person is wholly competent, partially competent, or completely incapacitated.
What Does a Guardian or Conservator Do?
Once a person has been determined incapable of handling their own affairs or personal care, then a guardian is appointed to handle those things. Guardians most often arrange for appropriate care as well as determining where the ward will live, but these are just one small part of being a guardians or conservator. The guardian is also responsible for deciding where the ward’s liquid assets will be held and who is responsible for overseeing the investment. They are also responsible for managing the status of real estate and tangible personal property. Another aspect of being a conservator or guardian is handling any bills or expenses, as well as filing income tax returns. Additionally, guardians need to ask for court approval when required. They should also file annual accounts or plans for their wards, as well as terminate the guardianship at the appropriate age for minors.
Choose Jenkins Law Firm
Guardianship, or conservatorship, can be complex and stressful. By choosing Jenkins Law Firm, you can be assured your case will be handled in the best possible way. This firm takes great care to be understanding and empathetic during these difficult times, providing you with support during these difficult decisions. Our top quality legal service is based on integrity and trust. If you have any further questions you can consult our FAQ page, see what other clients have said about us, or even contact us directly.
Call us at (602) 283-9868 to schedule a consultation.