Basics of Guardianships and Conservatorships in Arizona
Caring for the Incapacitated
There are many reasons why people begin to lose mental capacity or competency. Age, serious brain or spinal injuries or other intellectual or cognitive impairments arising from certain illnesses and diseases are some of the most common causes of incapacity. Arizona law considers you to be incapacitated or incompetent if you are impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, mental disorder, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication or other cause, except minority, to the extent that you lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning your person. These decisions can involve financial or personal matters. If a person has significantly reduced intellectual capacity, it is often necessary to have the Court appoint a guardian or conservator to assist in administering and protecting the incapacitated person and his or her estate.
It is important for us to find you the best solution for your particular needs. Seniors can be extremely vulnerable and targets for abuse of all kinds. There are many forms of protection you can implement which include careful screening and bonding of caregivers to establishing legal guardianship and conservatorship. There are many steps in between. Requiring co-signers for bank accounts and even monitoring bank statements and credit card monthly statements can be good early methods of detecting potential abuse. Establishing guardianships and conservatorships can be very useful in the right circumstances, but there is an important balance which must be reached between protecting the incapacitated and potentially taking away their independence, freedom and dignity. Establishing guardianships and conservatorships can be very costly and intrusive, so the circumstances clearly must justify the need. We work hard to respect this balance.
Our Scottsdale/Phoenix probate litigation attorney, William D. Black , has been helping clients through guardianship and conservatorship issues for more than 25 years. At The Law Offices of William D. Black , we have the resources to help with any issue you might have involving a guardianship or conservatorship. We combine our resourcefulness and our commitment to first-rate representation to bring you the most thorough and effective legal representation possible.
Contact us for a free consultation.
The Basics of Guardianships and Conservatorships
Guardians and conservators are agents of the principal, much like trustees and executors. When the principal becomes incapacitated, these agents help care for the incapacitated person and handle that person's personal and financial affairs:
- Guardianship: A guardian handles the personal and medical decision-making for the principle. This includes choice of doctor, general and invasive medical-care decisions, decisions about where you live, and many other important decisions. We can help you make sure that you give clear and effective instructions to your guardian so that your wishes will be known and honored.
- Conservatorship: Conservators administer and assist in protecting the assets of the protected person. They have full authority to handle the financial affairs of the principal. This includes buying and selling property, investments, banking transactions and many other actions. They ensure that the estate of the incapacitated person is well-managed.
It is important to note that, as agents, guardians and conservators have the authority to make decisions on the principal's behalf. You can limit this authority through well-drafted conservatorship and guardianship documents. It is crucial to give this responsibility and authority only to those whom you know genuinely care about you, and to limit their authority according to your best interests. We have experience handling conservatorships and guardianships; we can help.
Contact an Arizona Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorney
We handle contested and uncontested cases involving the appointment of guardians and/or conservatorships for the elderly. Contested cases may involve: challenging the appointment of a sibling or other person as unfit, seeking to have a guardianship or conservatorship revoked because of financial abuse, emotional abuse or failure to care for the ward.
We offer free initial consultation. If you are considering a conservatorship or guardianship for yourself or a loved one or are involved in litigation relating thereto, you can contact our lawyers and discuss your legal rights and options. Contact us .