In Arizona, the court can appoint guardians to care for people who are unable to care for themselves. There are two basic types of guardianships. The first is a guardianship of a minor. The second is a guardianship of an incapacitated adult.
There are a number of different reasons the court may decide that adults are “incapacitated” or unable to care for themselves. These can include mental disabilities, chronic drug use and age-related conditions such as dementia. Regardless of the cause, the process for establishing guardianship of one of these adults follows the same basic process.
Establishing A Guardianship
When the court appoints someone as a guardian, it grants that person the legal authority to oversee the ward’s personal, medical and financial affairs. A guardianship is generally broader than a conservatorship, which grants the conservator authority over a ward’s financial affairs. Sometimes, the court may appoint both a guardian and a conservator and split up their responsibilities.
- To obtain a guardianship for an incapacitated adult, you must first file a petition with the court in the county where the proposed ward resides.
- After the court receives the petition, it will schedule a hearing to determine if the ward is truly incapable of taking care of themself without a guardian. The court requires that the ward receives notice of the hearing at least fourteen (14) days before the hearing. Certain other interested parties must also receive notice ahead of the hearing.
- At the hearing, the court will hear testimony and review evidence to determine whether the proposed requires a guardian. If the court determines the ward needs a guardian, it will appoint one. The court will try to appoint someone who it believes will act in the ward’s best interests.
Guardianships can take different forms. Some are limited, and the court will identify the specific affairs the guardian should manage. Some guardianships are general, meaning the guardians receive broader authority over the ward’s affairs and decisions.
Getting Loved Ones The Help They Need
Most family members who look at obtaining guardianships for their loved ones do so because they know their loved ones are unable to care for themselves. They need help.
An attorney can help you identify the evidence you want to present as well as the different options you may have for sharing certain responsibilities. The circumstances surrounding the decision to pursue a guardianship are often stressful. By providing clear guidance that cuts through the uncertainty, a good attorney can often lower the stress level, even while helping you get your loved one the help they need.
The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.
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