WHAT IS GUARDIANSHIP OF AN ADULT?
WHAT IS A GUARDIANSHIP?
Guardianship of an adult is court-ordered authorization to care for and make personal decisions on behalf of an incapacitated adult. The person for whom the guardian is appointed is referred to as the "ward" and is incapacitated to the extent that they cannot take care of or protect themselves because of a mental and/or physical health condition.
The court may appoint any competent person as guardian of the ward. There is a prioritized list of potential guardians provided by law, but it is ultimately up to the court through its decision-making power and what the court deems is in the best interests of the ward. The prioritized list includes:
-someone already appointed as guardian by the court in another state
-anadult nominated by the ward if the court believes the ward has capacity for such nomination
-an adult nominated in the ward's power of attorney
-the ward's spouse
-an adult child of the ward
-a parent of the ward
-a person nominated in the ward's will
-any relative with whom the ward has lived with for more than six months
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF APPOINTING A GUARDIAN?
As mentioned above, a guardian may be nominated by the ward or by a will. A guardian may be an existing power of attorney. Any person interested in the welfare of the incapacitated adult may file for a finding of incapacity and the appointment of a guardian for the ward. Those who wish to do this process on their own may find forms on the Maricopa County Superior Court website.
Notice must be personally served on the ward, as well as others, including spouse, parents and adult children, any current guardians or conservators, anyone who requested notification. If none, then the closest living relative should be given notice. Adult wards who are going through the guardianship process must have an attorney. It can be an attorney with whom they are familiar or an attorney may be appointed by the probate court. There must also be a court-appointed physician and court investigator who will submit reports after an interview process with the adult ward. Then a hearing will take place. The ward in the guardianship proceeding has a right to be present.
WHAT IS THE GUARDIANSHIP PROCESS?
WHAT DO GUARDIANS IN AN ADULT GUARDIANSHIP DO?
WHAT DO GUARDIANS IN A GUARDIANSHIP DO?
Guardians in a guardianship have similar responsibilities and duties as those of a parent. Guardians make personal decisions for the ward regarding medical decisions, social events, living conditions and arrangements, education and any professional care or services. Guardians must provide written documentation of their guardianship each year on the anniversary date of their appointment, which includes a report on the health and living conditions of the ward, as well as a current doctor's report.