Senior Planning can help with your Conservatorship Needs
If your loved one has recently gone through a medical crisis and can no longer handle their financial affairs, having a conservatorship in place will help you manage their assets and lives in the way that works best for them.
Before considering conservatorship for your situation, you should know what it entails and what the term means. Obtaining a conservatorship over someone else can be a lengthy, oftentimes confusing process. Knowing what to expect will help you be better prepared for the process and ensure that it is done correctly.
Arizona Conservatorship Basics
When dealing with seniors specifically, conservatorship is for adults who are not competent enough to make financial decisions for themselves. Conservatorship allows a court-appointed individual to make decisions on the senior’s behalf. This individual may be a family member, but they do not have to be.
Conservatorships can be temporary or permanent, depending on the situation. A conservatorship may also have limitations and only cover certain aspects of an individual’s financial life. Conservatorship can cover a broad spectrum of issues and you want to be sure you are filing for the right kind.
The person who maintains a conservatorship should be familiar with handling finances and handling other people’s money. Again, it can be a family member, but does not necessarily have to be.
To start the process of guardianship or conservatorship, you need to file a petition with the court. You will also need to attend a hearing and provide documentation about the case. Before beginning the process, you should have the right documents prepared and ready for the case.
In some cases, you may need to establish conservatorship quickly. An emergency conservatorship could be due to imminent financial harm that must be stopped. If an adult becomes incapacitated and lacks the ability to make or communicate their decisions, and did not sign a power of attorney, a conservatorship may be the only option to protect them financially.
In many cases with establishing conservatorship, the process can take months to complete. An emergency dictates that there are not months to spare to make this decision. In cases where financial or physical harm, or death is imminent, emergency guardianship or conservatorship can be granted.
Filing for emergency conservatorship still requires filing the appropriate paperwork. You will need proof that the danger is close at hand and that it could cause irreparable harm. The court still needs to know much of the same information as a permanent conservatorship and the court must approve.
Frequently Asked Questions about Conservatorship
What forms and documents are needed?
Knowing what forms to fill out before starting the conservatorship process will help you navigate the system. If the individual in question is an adult, the process is more involved than it would be for a minor. To start the process, you need to file paperwork regarding an appointment for conservatorship. This request should demonstrate evidence as to why conservatorship is appropriate and why you are seeking it. You should include as much evidence as you can collect about the individual’s mental and physical state and why they can no longer manage their affairs. It is best to come prepared to avoid delays.
How long does obtaining conservatorship take?
The conservatorship process can take months to complete. Once the hearing begins, the court will assign a lawyer if the individual does not have one, an investigator, and a medical examiner. These people will help determine if conservatorship is the right option and make sure that the individual in question is not being abused or taken advantage of. People who may be interviewed for the hearing include spouses, adult children, anyone serving as a prior conservator, and anyone who has care and custody of the individual. The interviews help the court make the best decision for everyone involved.
Can I file for conservatorship without assistance?
Unless you are extremely comfortable with the legal system, using the help of professionals may be the best option. Even small mistakes or clerical errors can delay conservatorship filings for months. It means filing paperwork and going through a hearing that can take months to complete. Before going through the conservatorship process, you want to be sure that you understand what the process will look like and what the result will be. At Senior Planning, we provide the services you need at reasonable prices to make sure your filing will go as smoothly as possible.
Will Senior Planning go with me to the court hearing?
Arizona allows certified document preparers, like Senior Planning, to help with the preparation of legal documents. If desired, one of our agents can accompany you to assist with your court filing for an additional, reasonable fee. However, unlike attorneys, we cannot represent you in court or during the hearing. Our job is to make sure the paperwork is filled out correctly and thoroughly before any submissions or hearings take place. Although we cannot speak on your behalf or offer legal advice, making sure there are no mistakes in the filing aids the process enormously.