Guardian & Conservatorship
It’s hard to see loved ones having trouble with their day-to-day activities, but it happens. At some point, they’re going to need another person to have legal authority to make decisions for them. Your loved one may have an estate plan that designates an agent or a successor trustee, which would help avoid the need for a guardianship or conservatorship. If not, someone can still get the legal authority to take care of them by applying for a guardianship or a conservatorship.
We help clients or their loved ones navigate the Arizona probate court system to set up a guardianship or a conservatorship.
A guardianship is requested for someone who is no longer able to make responsible decisions about their personal affairs. A potential guardian petitions the court for authority to act on behalf of the incapacitated person, also known as a ward. At some point, a doctor will confirm the ward is indeed incapacitated, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the person who needs help, and the court will eventually designate the person who has priority to have legal authority.
A conservatorship is similar, but the authority they have is different. A potential conservator applies to the court for authority to make decisions about an incapacitated person’s financial affairs. Conservators must keep detailed accounting records and file annual reports with the probate court every year.
If help is needed in both areas (personal & financial), then you can combine the two requests into one court process with the local probate court.
But BEWARE: Maricopa County is known as one of the worst guardianship/conservatorship courts in the country! There are many, many records of abuse and financial exploitation and some of them even were approved by the court! The primary problem with Arizona’s guardianship/conservatorship system is that the court appoints a bunch of professional strangers to oversee and control what should happen to your loved one, and all of these strangers get paid out of your loved one’s money. So, what do you think their incentive is? To make sure they do as much work as possible even when the case is otherwise “simple”.
We’ve seen it time and time again. So, it’s important to have an advocate that will stand against those court-appointed professionals who have no personal connection to your family. That’s why we do not accept court-appointed work and only work directly for you, the private families who need guardianships or conservatorships.