There are times in life when you may be asked to step in and help a family member or friend because of death or incapacity. While assuming the role of guardian/conservator may appear to be an overwhelming task at initially, the process of appointment and the fulfillment of ongoing duties are not as complicated as they may first seem.
Call the Law Office of John Little, PLLC and speak with an experienced attorney in the Detroit metro area today to assist you through the process and help you manage your responsibilities going forward. While the following list is by no means all-inclusive, it does attempt to answer a couple of the most frequently asked questions about guardianships and conservatorships.
A guardian is appointed to manage the living situation and personal affairs of an incapacitated person, known as a ward. Guardians have the responsibility to make decisions involving the ward’s living situation and conditions, daily care, medical treatment, and personal belongings, and to return the ward to self-management if possible. Guardians are often family members. They may be appointed for children, when their parents die or become incapacitated and cannot provide adequate care. They may also be appointed to care for an adult who becomes unable to care for him or herself.
In a limited guardianship, the guardian is not ceded total control, but only has authority over certain aspects of the ward’s life. Whether a limited guardianship is appropriate is bases on the ward’s individual abilities.
A conservator, in contrast, manages a person’s assets and financial affairs. Conservators are appointed when a person is mentally incapacitated and as a result, his or her assets may be wasted if not properly managed. The probate court will appoint a person or a financial institution to act as a conservator. Often, attorneys or other professionals are appointed to serve. Sometimes, a conservator also acts as a guardian for the ward.
As in guardianships, a limited conservatorship, in which the conservator does not have full decision-making power over the ward’s assets, may be available, depending on the ward’s capacity.
To have a guardian or conservator appointed, the Michigan probate court must determine that a person is unable to make informed decisions about his or her own care, financial matters, medical treatment, and other related matters. Ideally, a person’s estate plan will name a person to be appointed as guardian or conservator if the need arises. Otherwise, the Michigan probate court will make the appointment. The probate court will also review the guardian or conservator’s management yearly. Guardians and conservators are compensated for their time.
At the Law Office of John Little, we will diligently represent you during and after a guardianship or conservatorship proceeding. We can assist you and represent your interests if someone is trying to become your guardian or conservator, making sure that none of your rights are unnecessarily taken from you. If your guardian is acting abusively or overstepping his or her bounds, or if you no longer need a guardian, we can work to protect you. If you have been appointed a guardian or conservator, we can help you through the process and help you understand your duties.
Guardianships and conservatorships are very serious, as they mean the loss of rights. We can help to protect those rights, and ensure that a guardian is only appointed if it is necessary. Please contact Royal Oak guardianship and conservatorship attorney John Little today to schedule a free phone consultation at 248-865-3455.