Seeking a guardianship of an incapacitated adult family member

On Behalf of | Jan 5, 2022 | Estate Planning & Probate

If your loved one has become incapacitated or needs support to take care of their personal or financial tasks, you may want to look into seeking a guardianship or conservatorship. When you seek a guardianship or conservatorship, you should realize that getting one approved will limit your loved one’s rights. This is usually the last-ditch effort families use to make sure an elder or incapacitated adult has the care they need.

If you would like to begin the process, you will need to start by filing a petition for a guardianship and/or conservatorship. There are filing fees that will vary based on the county.

If you are a single person filing the petition, you’ll need to fill out every page of the petition. For cases where you and other people will be seeking guardianship or a conservatorship simultaneously, you will need to file a petition together.

Do you need a referral to get a guardianship or conservatorship?

Sort of. When only a single person files a petition, they will need to include the affidavit from a licensed clinical social worker, psychologist, or physician that took place within the last 15 days prior to filing the petition. This affidavit will need to indicate that your loved one can no longer manage their own finances or care and needs a guardianship or conservatorship to protect their overall well-being.

Will your loved one need to go through another medical exam?

Yes. The proposed ward will be given a copy of the petition by the sheriff’s department (or sometimes through other means). Then, a licensed clinical social worker, psychologist or physician appointed by the court will go to visit the ward at their home. They do this to evaluate their health and abilities, so they can decide if the guardianship or conservatorship would be warranted based on their own professional opinion.

The proposed ward will also be assigned an attorney by the court, but they do have a right to seek out their own attorney as well. If it is found that the person needs support with a guardianship or conservatorship, then the court may assign them one after the judge receives all the appropriate information and documentation to assign the Letters of Guardianship or Conservatorship.