Legacy Law Group: The Trust Attorney Denver Families Count On
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Adult Guardianship And Conservatorship
Protecting You In Times Of Illness Or Injury
When Guardians And Conservators Are Needed
Whether through illness, injury, or mental decline, anyone can require a guardian or conservator to care for them if they become mentally or physically incapacitated.
Children automatically qualify as not having the “capacity” to be in charge of their own financial affairs and decisions about their well-being.
And an adult may qualify as not having “capacity” if you become seriously ill or injured.
Unless you have the proper estate planning in place that names the individual who will be your guardian or conservator in case of illness or injury, a probate judge will be deciding who is your guardian or conservator.
At Meuli Law Office we can guide you through the often complex and emotional process of the probate court appointing a conservator or guardian for you or for your loved ones.
Obtaining Adult Guardianship Or Conservatorship
Seeking appointment of a guardian or conservator for an adult is a serious undertaking.
The law presumes that a person over age 18 can act for themselves unless shown otherwise. As a result, the probate court typically requires extensive proof that a guardian or conservator of an adult is warranted.
The process begins with the interested party filing a petition in court that requests the court declare the adult essentially “incapacitated,” at least from the legal perspective.
Sometimes, these proceedings are initially “ex parte” (in secret) so that a guardian or conservator may be appointed before other interested parties are aware, if there is a concern about other interested parties’ intentions or even the anticipated behavior of the adult at issue.
Many times, guardianship and conservatorship filings can lead to heated disputes between family members or close family friends who may claim they are better suited for the role.
Regardless of who files the petition, guardianship and conservatorship will only be granted if the court determines there is enough evidence to show the person is legally “incapacitated” to the point where they can no longer make legal, financial, or healthcare decisions for themselves.
Who Is Eligible To Serve As An Adult Guardian Or Conservator?
Although courts typically give preference to a spouse or another close family member, a guardian or conservator does not have to be a relative.
Provided the person seeking appointment is a competent adult, close friend, or any other interested party, they are eligible to serve as long as the judge determines they are best suited for the role.
If a relative or friend is not willing or capable of serving, the court will appoint a third party to serve as guardian or conservator.
Sadly, this can lead to horrible financial and/or physical abuse of the incapacitated so it is best to plan ahead and name a guardian and conservator in your estate planning documents to keep the courts out of the picture entirely.
Guardian And Conservator Responsibilities
Depending on the extent of the person’s incapacity, a court-appointed guardian or conservator can be given near complete control over your life.
There are two areas of decision-making where a guardian or conservator has authority: decisions about your well-being and decisions about your finances.
Decisions about well-being include determining your place of residence, your attending physicians, and your medical treatment.
Decisions about your finances include how your home is paid for, what your income is used for, whether to pursue legal actions on your behalf, how to manage your assets, filing your insurance claims, and many other matters.
Usually one person is appointed for both roles, but the court can also split the responsibilities among multiple parties.
For instance, one person may oversee the financial decisions, while another person handles living arrangements and healthcare.
Moreover, the court often requires the guardian and conservator to file detailed status reports such as financial accountings at regular intervals or whenever important decisions are made, such as when an asset is sold or when you require a substantial expense for your care.
Some of the most common duties of adult guardians and conservators include:
- Paying the ward’s bills
- Determining where they live
- Monitoring their residence and living conditions
- Providing consent for medical treatments
- Deciding how their finances are handled, including how their assets are invested and if any assets should be liquidated
- Managing real estate and other tangible property
- Keeping detailed records of all their expenditures and other financial transactions
- Making end-of-life and other palliative-care decisions
With the huge responsibility and loss of control that comes with guardianship and conservatorship, the process can often feel overwhelming.
The best course of action is to do your estate planning ahead of time to name exactly who is your preferred guardian and conservator so that your family will not have to deal with a courtroom or lawyers in the first place.
Unfortunately, some of our clients did not do estate planning soon enough, and we were called upon to help their family members with establishing guardianship or conservatorship.
If you are in this situation trying to help a loved one, we can help.
Supporting You During A Difficult Time
Thank you for being here. I know you have a lot of options when it comes to choosing the right attorney for you. We are here to support you however we can during any time of burden or loss.
Our Client Success Stories
“Anastasia Fainberg is extremely good at the legal work she performs. Her complete attention to every detail make her a pleasure to work with. She is the most qualified attorney that I have ever seen. I recommend her highly as she earns your trust from start to finish.”
Glen And Gracie
“My wife and I are very grateful for the careful explanation of the value of having our estate plan in place. Matt Meuli patiently answered all of our questions and made sure we had all the information we needed. We highly recommend Meuli Law Office for your estate planning needs. Now our beneficiaries will be in great hands and not have to struggle through so many unknowns.”
“Fantastic attorney has helped me on several matters and will continue to use her for our other legal matters. I would recommend Anastasia to anyone needing legal assistance.” We highly recommend Meuli Law Office for your estate planning needs. Now our beneficiaries will be in great hands and not have to struggle through so many unknowns.”
Lee & Linda
“Matthew Meuli, Attorney/Counselor has been a friend of mine and Linda’s for the past four years. Matt and I met through Business Network International. At BNI Matt presented himself as a very qualified counselor for planning a trust. I had been a beneficiary of my mother’s trust and learned the value of a will versus a trust. We were able to set up the L&L Trust in an easy and understandable way with Matt’s professional help. As we have seen in the last two months life can change in a moment and having a trust in place gives us tremendous security.”
“If you are looking for a Law group that is professional, attentive and covers every single detail of your estate planning then give Anastasia a call!”
Sandie and ed
“When my father passed unexpectedly, it was surprising how much was involved. We had no idea what to do, where to go, how to find info that wasn’t written on his 1 page handwritten will. We will be forever grateful that we had Matt Meuli by our side showing us how to navigate through my father’s poorly prepared will. We have since set up a trust for our little ones and have no worries for those left behind. Matt thoroughly explained each part of the process in an easy to understand way. We now have peace of mind. Thank you Matt!”