Guardianship and Conservatorship
Having a proper plan in place often allows you to avoid the complex and time-consuming process of guardianship or conservatorship court proceedings. As highly experienced attorneys in this area, the attorneys at the Deason Garner Law Firm can help you with guardianship and conservatorship preparation at our Yuma, AZ, law office.
Do I Need a Guardianship or Conservatorship Plan?
At some point, you may become incapacitated and unable to make decisions regarding your welfare or financial matters. A court proceeding, similar to probate, can appoint a guardian or conservator, but the process will involve time, energy, and money for court costs and attorney’s fees.
A guardianship proceeding may be avoided by executing a valid health care power of attorney, mental health care power of attorney, and a living will.
What is a Guardianship?
When a person is incapacitated and cannot make reasonable decisions regarding his or her welfare, the court will appoint a guardian through a guardianship proceeding. The guardian may be appointed in general or for a specific purpose and time period. A guardian can be nominated by a will or by a petition to the court. The guardianship proceeding involves an attorney for the potential ward, a physician’s report, and a court investigator’s report in order to determine need for a guardian.
If the court determines that a guardian is warranted, the court will appoint the guardian in conjunction with the best interests of the ward. Although the court can take into consideration persons who are nominated to be the guardian, the ultimate decision rests on the court. The guardian is responsible for making decisions regarding the ward’s education, living arrangements, social activities, and medical or other professional care that is needed.
What is a Conservatorship?
When a person is incapacitated and cannot make reasonable decisions regarding his or her property or financial matters, the court will appoint a conservator through a conservatorship proceeding. A conservatorship proceeding is similar to a guardianship proceeding, with the court making the final determination as to who will act as the conservator. The conservatorship can be general, limited, or for a single transaction. A general conservator has a wide range of powers over the protected person’s assets such as:
- Checking accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Real estate
How to Avoid Court Proceedings
Guardianship and conservatorship proceedings are time-consuming, expensive, and require extensive work on the part of the guardian or conservator. Additionally, many important decisions are left up to the court, not to you or your family. With proper planning, these court proceedings can often be avoided.
A guardianship proceeding may be avoided by executing a valid health care power of attorney, mental health care power of attorney, and a living will while you are competent. These documents will give the power of attorney agent the ability to provide for your welfare should you become incapacitated. A conservatorship proceeding may be avoided by executing a valid durable financial power of attorney to manage your assets in the event you become incapacitated. Again, this power of attorney must be executed while you are a competent adult.
Accordingly, by planning ahead using the experience of our attorneys, you can potentially avoid unnecessary court hassles and expenses. The attorneys at the Deason Garner Law Firm will do all they can to help you avoid a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding. In the event, however, that proceedings cannot be avoided, they will use their experience to assist you throughout the process.
Schedule Your ConsultationTo find out more about avoiding guardianships and conservatorships while having your health and financial needs met, contact our office for an appointment.
“After researching estate planning, my husband and I contacted Deason Garner & Hansen Law Firm and were pleasantly surprised at the relative ease of setting up a Living Trust. All of the personnel we met at the firm, including but not limited to, Adam and Ashley, went above and beyond their assigned duties to make this happen for us. We feel confident in their expertise in this area and feel that we have made two new friends in Yuma! Thank you!” K. Knight