Arizona law allows for an individual to become a guardian or conservator of another individual in certain situations, such as if the individual (called the ward or “protected person”) is unable to make sound decisions due to disability, mental illness, drug use, and other circumstances. A court must be able to clearly show that the individual is unable to meet his or her basic living needs or unable to make appropriate financial decisions without assistance.
Guardians are appointed for individuals in situations where the individual cannot provide for his or her own daily needs. A guardian is responsible for finding adequate living arrangements for the ward, as well as obtaining medical care for the ward and ensuring that basic needs like food and clothing are met. Guardians do have some limitations to their powers — for example, a guardian cannot create a will for his or her ward, or have them admitted to a mental health facility without first obtaining a court order to do so. Most guardians do not handle finances, as this is a job generally reserved for the conservator of a ward.
A conservator is an individual that is appointed to handle only the finances of a ward. The conservator does not have the legal right to make decisions regarding a ward’s medical care or living arrangements, and must fully account his or her actions with the estate to the court on a yearly basis.
Guardians and conservators can be appointed in number of different cases. For example, a loved one may have become incapacitated after an accident and needs assistance with managing basic needs and financial affairs. Or, a fully capable person may want to name a guardian and/or a conservator in a will in case he or she becomes incapacitated at a later date. Either way, the process of appointing a guardian or a conservator can be complex and requires the assistance of a skilled estate planning attorney in Arizona.
Attorney Stephen W. Follett has worked with numerous clients in guardianship/ conservatorship cases, and can lend his unique expertise to your case. He can help you locate a guardian or conservator, or assist you with your responsibilities if you yourself are named as a guardian or conservator. Don’t hesitate to get the legal assistance you need when faced with a difficult situation like this. Contact Stephen Follett today to discuss your legal needs in detail.
Our office is conveniently located in Greater-Phoenix to the East Valley cities of Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Tempe, Mesa, and Scottsdale in Maricopa County. We also serve Queen Creek, Johnson Ranch, Florence, and Apache Junction in Pinal County.