Arizona Guardianship & Conservatorship Attorneys

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Phoenix Arizona Guardianship Attorney

Arizona Guardianships and Conservatorships

JacksonWhite’s guardianship and conservatorship practice area is focused on protecting the rights and interests of vulnerable individuals who are unable to make decisions or care for themselves. Our team of attorneys, paralegals, legal assistants, and administrators work to ensure that legal arrangements are established and managed effectively to promote the welfare of those in need.

If your loved one is in a position where they refuse or are unable to make appropriate choices, you may need to be appointed by the court as a guardian or conservator. Impairments ranging from disability to the effects of aging can make it difficult for people to handle their own affairs. When left to their own devices, these people can make dangerous financial and medical decisions. The law has certain safeguards in place, however, designed to protect people in such a situation. These protections come in the form of guardians and conservators.

Call us today at (480) 409-9303 to see how we can help with your legal needs

Guardianship & Conservatorship Services

How Our Team Can Help You

Guardianship is authority granted by the court to make decisions for an incapacitated person regarding their health and medical care.

Why seek guardianship?

  • Loved one in need of assisted living placement
  • No power of attorney or failed power of attorney
  • Inability to consent to inpatient treatment

Conservatorship is authority granted by the court to make decisions for an incapacitated person regarding their finances and assets.

Why seek conservatorship?

  • Protect a vulnerable family member from exploitation
  • Inability to pay $4,000+ per month for assisted living
  • Bank refusal to recognize power of attorney

Our team is committed to best serving each of our clients and giving them the attention and dedication they deserve. We understand the stress and worry involved in seeking guardianship or conservatorship, and strive to lift that burden from family members or loved ones. No matter the legal troubles you may face, it is our promise to be by your side every step of the way.

Call (480) 467-4313 or fill out the form below to get your free consultation and discuss your best legal options.

Meet Our Guardianship and Conservatorship Attorneys

Colton Johnston

Colton Johnston AttorneyColton is a Shareholder at JacksonWhite and currently leads the Guardianship and Conservatorship Team. His team has helped hundreds of families through the painstaking guardianship process. Colton prides himself on extensive experience in helping families (including those unable to afford representation), facilities, caretakers, and loved ones in navigating long-term care, estate planning, Medicare/Medicaid disputes,and legal authority to act on behalf of those who are suffering from incapacity and/or dementia.

Spencer Wilkinson

Spencer began his legal career in 2015 in the Phoenix valley and gained experience in many diverse areas of law, including bankruptcy, debt-defense litigation, estate planning, family law, homeowner’s association law, landlord-tenant law, personal injury, and property law. In 2021, Spencer joined Jackson White as a law clerk. Spencer now focuses his career on probate litigation, specifically in the guardianship and conservatorship arena, where he believes his skills and passion for advocacy make a positive impact on people in the community.

Understanding Guardianship & Conservatorship

The top 10 reasons you may need to apply for Guardianship (physical) or Conservatorship (financial):

Your parent, child, grandparent, or other loved one is:

  1. Unable to make medical and/or financial decisions
  2. Is unwilling or unable to sign a Power of Attorney
  3. Becomes easily agitated, aggressive or combative
  4. Gets lost or disoriented, but refuses to give up car
  5. Is being exploited by a family member, friend or scam artist
  6. Cannot control spending
  7. Is not safe to live at home, but refuses to move
  8. Has changed POAs numerous times
  9. Has given POA to untrustworthy person
  10. Needs to be treated in a mental facility

Powers of Attorney (POAs), both health care and financial, can be very effective tools in helping to protect your loved one. However, a POA cannot override a person’s own choices for where he lives or how he spends his money.

Upon approval from the court, guardians step in to act on behalf of someone who is no longer able to make safe medical decisions. Similarly, with the court’s approval, conservators step in to make financial decisions on behalf of someone who is no longer able.

Courts have discretion to grant guardians and conservators very broad or limited authority, depending on the particular situation.

When petitioned to create a guardianship or conservatorship, courts consider whether the individual has made prior arrangements to have somebody handle his medical and financial issues; and whether the individual is legally incapacitated.

An Arizona guardianship attorney or conservatorship attorney can be helpful in persuading the court that a guardianship or conservatorship is indeed necessary.

To learn more about the process of being appointed guardian or conservator by the court, contact us at (480) 467-4313.

Guardianship & Conservatorship FAQs

The court establishes Arizona guardianships for people who need assistance with medical decisions, and establishes Arizona conservatorships for people who need assistance with financial decisions. While the process for establishing both is substantially the same, the duties and obligations of the two are entirely different. Guardians can handle up to $10,000/year for a ward without a conservatorship, however beyond that dollar amount, they are only able to handle medical issues; and conservators have no authority to handle medical issues, only financial matters.

Courts will only appoint a guardian if the proposed ward lacks the capacity to make appropriate medical decisions. Because incapacity is a legal status, it can be difficult to accurately determine whether another person truly lacks capacity. Family members and friends should ask the following questions when determining whether somebody requires a guardian:
• Does he/she have difficulty doing familiar tasks?
• Can he/she communicate clearly?
• Does he/she take medications as directed?
• Does he/she have extreme mood swings for no apparent reason?
• Does he/she become easily agitated, aggressive or combative?
• Does he/she lose things often or put things in inappropriate places?
• Does he/she forget where he/she is?
• Can he/she attend to and provide necessary food, shelter, clothing and medical care?

The court will only appoint a conservator for people who do not have capacity to manage their own finances. Oftentimes this incapacity is due to the aging process, but it can also stem from illness, disability or substance abuse. Families questioning whether they should seek a conservatorship should begin by asking:
• Can he/she handle every day financial issues, such as writing checks or balancing a checkbook?
• Could he/she be easily persuaded to give away money or property?
• Does he/she have a grasp of what and where his/her assets are?

A guardian can only obtain outpatient mental health care for a ward. Under a standard Arizona guardianship, guardians cannot obtain inpatient mental health care for a ward. Upon petition, however, courts may grant a mental health guardianship, which is valid for one year, and allows guardians to obtain inpatient mental health treatment for wards.

Conservators are court appointed to make financial decisions for somebody who lacks the capacity to do so personally. Once appointed, conservators never have authority to make medical decisions for wards, but they have a wide range of authority over financial and legal issues, including:
• Paying debts and expenses.
• Bringing or defending legal actions.
• Making an inventory indicating the fair market value of the ward’s assets.
• Prudently investing.
• Acquiring or disposing of property.
• Handling insurance claims.
• Preserving and protecting estate property.
• Paying income and property taxes.
• Providing the court with an annual accounting of every expense.

Serving Clients Throughout Arizona

Our team proudly serves clients throughout Arizona who are in need of experienced legal services related to guardianships & conservatorships. 

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Contact Our Guardianships & Conservatorships Team

Call (480)467-4313 or fill out our contact form to schedule your consultation today.