A guardianship is a legal action to have a person or entity appointed by the court to make medical and housing decisions for an incapacitated person.In Arizona, the alleged incapacitated person is referred to as the ward. Incapacity means the adult cannot make or communicate reasonable decisions for themselves to protect their own welfare because of a medical or other type of condition. If you have a health care power of attorney for the individual, you might be able to avoid the guardianship process.However, sometimes, even when a health care power of attorney has been completed, a guardianship is needed.
The following are common situations in which a Guardianship might be needed:
➢ a child who is turning 18 and has a developmental disability that will require someone to continue making decisions for them
➢ an aging parent has had an illness or injury that makes it so they can no longer manage their own daily affairs
➢ a spouse with advancing Dementia
Because the incapacitated person is losing the authority to make their own personal decisions over many important things, there are strict rules and procedures to ensure that a guardianship is necessary and that the person requesting to be the guardian is the right person to serve.
➢ the alleged incapacitated person will be appointed a lawyer
➢ the alleged incapacitated person has the right to object to the appointment of a guardian
➢ the alleged incapacitated person must be personally served with the court documents
➢ a court investigator will make recommendations to the court on the need for a guardian and the appropriateness of the person or entity that has asked to be the guardian
Deciding that an adult will not be able to make their own decisions and cannot act as an independent adult is a difficult. It is hard to tell someone you love that they cannot safely manage their affairs. We can evaluate the situation to determine if an emergency guardianship is needed, if a limited guardianship is needed, or if there are other options available to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can someone object to me being the guardian? Yes, we must provide notice to other people who are interested in the matter. Those individuals can object to your appointment as guardian or to the need for a guardian at all.
How long does it take to be appointed by the court? In part it depends on whether an emergency exists and whether there will be any objections by third parties or concerns by the court. Typically, a hearing is held in front of the court within approximately 6-8 weeks from the time the paperwork is filed. It is common for a guardian to be appointed at the first hearing.
Can someone under guardianship still drive and vote? Yes, so long as the physician who has evaluated the person agrees that they are competent to continue to have those rights.
Kile & Kupiszewski law firm has over 20 years experience in the area of adult guardianship. Our firm has successfully assisted thousands of families in obtaining guardianship to protect their loved one. It can be a difficult and emotional decision to seek guardianship. When you come in for a consultation we will help you understand the guardianship process and explore all of your legal options. Call us today to schedule a consultation 480-348-1590.
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