What is a guardianship? How do you become a guardian? What happens once you are appointed as a guardian?
I’m Kent Berk at the Scottsdale, Arizona law firm Berk Law Group, P.C. where we handle probate, trust, estate, and other types of matters here in Arizona.
A guardianship is a proceeding whereby one person basically takes over and has control over decisions regarding the healthcare and wellbeing and living decisions of another person, referred to as the incapacitated person or ward.
Guardianship can be obtained if someone is incapacitated. That means that the person is unable to make or communicate responsible decision regarding their wellbeing, due to any number of conditions such as mental disorder or illness, physical illness or incapacity, and other types of conditions.
If the person is incapacitated, then, you can file a petition with the court to have a guardian appointed, either you or someone else appointed to take over control of certain decisions for the warded, incapacitated adult.
Those decisions include decisions regarding where they live, healthcare decisions. If it is mental health counseling, if it is outpatient mental health counseling, that’s part of the guardian’s powers to make decisions for the ward.
If the guardian wants to admit the ward to inpatient mental health counseling, then, you have to make specific request and get specific authority for inpatient on mental health counseling.
In order to start a guardianship proceeding, you have to file a petition with the court. Eventually, a court appointed attorney will be appointed to represent the interest of the ward.
A physician would have to examine the ward and ultimately a hearing would be held for the court to determine whether the person is actually incapacitated and unable to make or analyze informed and good decisions regarding their wellbeing.
Once a guardian is appointed, it does have some effects on the ward’s legal rights, specifically regarding voting rights and driving privileges.
Unless, the appointment of the guardian specifies otherwise upon the appointment of the guardian, the ward loses the right to vote and loses the right to drive.
If the court determines though that the ward, despite their incapacity still has the ability to safely drive, then the court can specify that the ward retains their driving privileges or their voting privileges.
There’s of course a lot more involved in a guardianship proceeding, but those on the basics. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.