Guardianship & Conservatorship

Guardianship & Conservatorship - Karen FortierWhen there is no one who has the legal authority to make decisions for an incapacitated person, it is often necessary or advisable for a guardian to be appointed for him or her. Such an appointment is made by a Circuit Court judge if the judge is satisfied that someone (the “Respondent”) is incapacitated to the point that he cannot manage his affairs, live without being a danger to himself or others, follow medical requirements for his care or a host of other circumstances. The Court must also have medical evidence of the Respondent’s condition and the prognosis (will he get better, stay about the same or get worse?).

A number of additional inquiries must be made by the Court. Answers to many of those inquiries may be found in the report written by the guardian ad litem. The law requires that the guardian ad litem (meaning “guardian for the case”) perform an investigation into the Respondent’s background, present circumstances and suitability of the proposed guardian. The report is filed with the Court and shared with the parties in the case. It is a critically important element in the proper handling of a guardianship case. The thoroughness of the guardian ad litem’s investigation and the accuracy of her report are the foundations of a well-reasoned decision by the Court.

How We Can Help

We often serve as counsel for the “Petitioner” who wishes to request that the Court appoint a guardian and/or conservator for a loved one. As Petitioner’s counsel, we take care of preparing all of the documents required by law and we shepherd the case from the first Court filing through the hearing and final qualification of the appointed guardian and/or conservator. We also will remain as counsel to the guardian and/or conservator, if desired, so that he or she is sure to file accurate and timely reports with the Court as required by law.

We have been involved in a great many cases over the years. We take special care to understand all aspects of the law and the needs of our clients as well as the best interests of the loved one who is alleged to be incapacitated.