Guardianship: Incapacitated Adult
Definitions and General Responsibilities:
- Guardian: A guardian is a person appointed by the court who is responsible for making decisions regarding an incapacitated person’s personal affairs such as support, care, health, safety, etc.
- Conservator: A conservator is a person appointed by the court who is responsible for managing an incapacitated person’s estate and financial affairs.
So you have decided that you may need to Petition the Court for guardianship and/or conservatorship of a loved one who is incapable of receiving and evaluating information effectively to respond to people, in that they lack the ability to meet the essential requirements for their health, care safety, etc. without the assistance and protection of a guardian, but what happens next?
The guardianship and/or conservatorship process can be very detail oriented and it is strongly advised that you contact an experienced attorney, knowledgeable in the process.
But what is the general process? …
First, you, through your attorney, file a Petition seeking guardianship and/or conservatorship in the Circuit Court where the allegedly incapacitated person (hereinafter referred to as “respondent”) has resided for the past 6 months, or longer. In the Petition, you will allege why your loved one needs the protection of a guardian and/or conservator, who is most suited to serve as guardian and/or conservator and other details about the scope of the assistance needed. A medical evaluation also will be filed, in which a doctor will provide their perspective as to what the respondent’s diagnosis is, the prognosis for recovery and whether the doctor believes the respondent needs the protection of a guardian or is capable of handling their own affairs.
**Remember, this is not for people who are simply making bad choices.**
Once the Petition has been filed, the court will appoint a Guardian ad Litem, who is a specially trained attorney whose will inquire into the Petition, meet with the proposed guardian(s) and/or conservator(s), meet with the respondent and advise them of their legal rights, and personally appear at all court proceedings. The Guardian ad Litem will then file a report with their recommendations and findings.
A hearing on the Petition will be scheduled and heard before a Circuit Court Judge, at which time the Judge will render a decision as to whether a guardian and/or conservator is needed and whether the proposed guardian and/or conservator is the person best suited to serve in that capacity. Once the Judge appoints the guardian and/or conservator appointed individual, or their attorney, will need to schedule an appointment with the Clerk of Court, who then qualifies the appointed guardian and/or conservator.
Don’t try and navigate through the guardianship and/or conservatorship process alone, contact the experienced guardianship attorneys with Miller Walsh & Kutz PLLC.