Conservators and guardians are appointed to protect people who are unable to handle finances and make decisions on their own. This could be either an incapacitated adult or a minor child. In Arizona, a conservator is authorized to make financial decisions while a guardian is granted authority to make personal and medical decisions.
A guardian’s authority can be extensive or rather limited. For example, in addition to making heath care decisions, a guardian may be authorized to determine whether the person in question (who is called the “ward”) can have visitors, attend social gatherings, and more. Similarly, the conservator’s authority can be broad or limited. The extent of the authority granted to a conservator or guardian falls under the purview of the Arizona probate court.
Without proper estate planning, the court will select and appoint a conservator and guardian. This could very well be a person you never would have wanted to make important decisions for you (or for your children) in the event of incapacity. In addition, the conservatorship and guardianship processes can be quite expensive and take a considerable amount of time. Family disputes often arise over who should be the conservator or guardian. Disputes like these can lead to hard feelings that last a lifetime.
We can use a number of tools and strategies to avoid conservatorship and guardianship entirely, including powers of attorney, living wills, trusts, and more. That said, if you are currently faced with a conservatorship or guardianship proceeding, we can guide you through the process while protecting your interests and the interests of your loved one.
Contact us today to discuss your situation with our Gilbert, Arizona conservatorship and guardianship attorney. You are not alone during this difficult time.