Conservatorship is a type of legal process implemented to protect people who are no longer (or never were) capable of caring for themselves, whether due to disability, incapacity or age. The court appoints a legal guardian to care for the person in need (known as a ward), and that guardian will have the authority to make certain decisions on the ward’s behalf while representing their various personal and financial affairs. In many cases, people will include conservatorship information in their estate plans, and their chosen guardian will be ratified by the state. But when no such estate plan exists, the state will select a guardian.
In the case of elderly or incapacitated individuals, courts will appoint guardians (also known as conservators) to protect their interests. There are some steps that must occur before the guardian can be appointed. First, the ward has a right to be notified before a conservatorship proceeding, and to be represented by counsel. During proceedings, the individual is allowed to confront witnesses and present evidence.
If a court does choose to appoint a guardian, the guardian must respect the wishes of the ward and give the ward as much autonomy as is possible given the circumstances.
There are a couple categories of conservatorship for elderly people. The conservatorship arrangement may include both or just one of these. Here’s some information about conservatorship law in Phoenix, AZ.
Conservatorship of the person
Conservatorship of the person involves a guardian making decisions about an elderly or incapacitated person’s care and support. As part of their duties, the guardian might need to monitor the ward’s medical treatment and living conditions, make end-of-life care decisions and preparations and arrange any professional services the ward might require.
Any time the guardian makes decisions as described above, he or she must consider not only the wishes of the ward, but also their physical and financial needs. This process continues until the ward either passes away or until the court deems the conservatorship to no longer be required.
Conservatorship of the estate
In conservatorship of the estate, the guardian instead takes responsibility for all personal property owned by the ward. It is the guardian’s role, then, to preserve and protect all assets to the fullest extent possible. They must also distribute income, obtain property appraisals and manage assets. During this time, the guardian will be required to keep the court updated about the estate’s condition and status.
This conservatorship, like conservatorship of the person, will continue until the death of the ward or until the court deems the conservatorship to no longer be necessary.
If you’re interested in learning more about conservatorship law in Phoenix, AZ for elderly or incapacitated individuals, it is important that you contact an experienced attorney at Lyman Law Office. We are members of the National Care Planning Council, and our team would be happy to answer any questions you have about the processes involved in conservatorship and estate planning. Please reach out to us today to arrange a consultation.
Categorized in: Guardianship Law