The answer is NO.
Many people do not understand, or are confused about, the purpose of a guardian or conservator. To be appointed as guardian for another should be a measure of last resort, reserved only for those who failed to properly plan for the possibility of incapacity and for incapacitated children upon attaining the age of eighteen.
A guardianship proceeding is generally a lengthy court process. Typically, a family member petitions the Circuit Court where the incapacitated person resides to request they be named as guardian for their loved one, and further stating why a guardianship is necessary. The petition also may include a request to appoint a conservator to manage the incapacitated person’s finances. The petition should include a doctor’s current medical evaluation that details the diagnosis(es) of the incapacitated loved one. Once the petition and medical evaluation have been filed with the Court, the judge appoints a Guardian ad Litem (GAL), who is a specially trained lawyer whose duty is to review the petition, meet with the proposed guardian or conservator, the loved one that is alleged to be incapacitated, as well as the loved one’s closest relatives, and then to provide a report summarizing the GAL’s findings to the Court. If the guardianship petition is undisputed AND approved by the Court, then the judge may appoint the petitioner as guardian and/or conservator of their loved one with as little as just one court hearing.
However, the process is still not yet complete. Even after the judge has appointed a guardian and/or conservator, that person still must qualify before the Clerk of Court to lawfully act on behalf of the loved one. Overall, depending on the jurisdiction where the petition is filed, an uncontested guardianship proceeding takes between two and four months.
Because the allegedly incapacitated person’s rights are at stake, a guardianship court proceeding is complicated and time consuming: it is simply not feasible to become a guardian or conservator of another overnight. It is therefore important that you discuss your need to establish a guardianship or conservatorship with a knowledgeable attorney, who can then properly – and as quickly as possible – advise and assist you through the necessary process.
Contact the law office of Miller, Walsh, Kutz & Laster at (757) 595-0123 x 302 to meet with an experienced guardianship attorney to discuss your loved one’s situation.