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Serving Phoenix & Surrounding Areas, AZ


Guardianship law – advocacy when it's most important

  • Establishing guardianship or conservatorship
  • Assure continued care
  • Administer trusts
  • File annual reports

Guardianship & Conservatorship Lawyer

If a relative or friend is no longer able to manage their personal or financial affairs due to age, disability, or because they have become incapacitated, they need a guardian appointed to care for their needs. A guardian acts like a parent for the person in need of protection, called the “ward.” The guardian will make important decisions for the ward, such as where to live, where to get medical care, and what religious and other activities the ward may participate in. If the ward has property in need of protection because the ward is unable to effectively manage it, the court will appoint a conservator. The conservator may be the same person as the guardian or it may be a different person if the ward’s assets are substantial.

People may require a guardianship or conservatorship for a variety of reasons. Sickness frequently makes a guardianship necessary, including degenerative diseases such as dementia, or sudden illnesses such as stroke or heart attack. Injuries from serious accidents may also make a guardianship or conservatorship necessary. In many cases, the cost of the guardianship case, including attorney’s fees, is paid out of the assets of the ward.

Please contact Matt Palmer Law Firm, PLC today to set up a consultation with an attorney to discuss whether your friend or family member is in need of a guardianship. We can discuss who might be the best person to act as guardian or conservator for the person needing care, the process involved in applying for a guardianship and what you and your loved ones can expect throughout the way.

Let Us Help You Protect Loved Ones Who Have Special Needs

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Do I need a power of attorney or a guardianship?

Many people think they need a power of attorney when what they really need is a guardianship and/or conservatorship. What is the difference?

Difference between Power of Attorney and Guardianship/Conservatorship?

Most importantly, a guardianship is created by the courts. To obtain a guardianship, an interested person must file a petition in Superior Court and seek appointment as the guardian of an incapacitated person by the judge. Once the guardian is appointed by the judge, the guardian can then act on behalf of the person for whom they were appointed. A guardianship gives someone decision-making authority for the incapacitated person. A conservatorship gives someone the ability to manage the property of the incapacitated person.

A power of attorney, on the other hand, is created by the person that wants someone else to act on their behalf. A power of attorney does not require a judge to appoint the person appointed.

However, one very important difference is that a power of attorney cannot be created by a person after they are incapacitated. A power of attorney executed by someone without capacity is invalid. Once a person is incapacitated, the only way to get someone appointed to act on their behalf is to have the court appoint a guardian and/or conservator.

A person may create a power of attorney before they are incapacitated that states who would act as their agent if they become incapacitated in the future. However, once they are incapacitated, it is too late to create a power of attorney.

If you have any doubt about which action is appropriate, you should consult an attorney. Inappropriately obtaining a power of attorney is illegal and can have serious consequences.

Please reach out to us to set up a consultation to discuss what is appropriate in your situation.

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