The following are definitions of individuals affected by incapacitated guardianship.
- Guardian: person who makes medical decisions and lifestyle decisions
- Ward: person who is served by a guardian
- Incapacitated Person: person who is legally qualified to have a guardian, due to a mental or physical illness, a disability, or alcohol or drug dependency
- Agent: person appointed under a Power of Attorney
Nearly any competent individual can serve as a guardian. Guardians can be appointed by will or by any interested person who files a petition with the court for the appointment of guardianship. The court of law provides a list of priority individuals who are eligible for guardianship, but may approve an individual if it is in the best interests of the ward. Upon approval, guardians are subject to extensive background checks.
Powers and Duties of the Guardian
In Arizona, a guardian is appointed by a judge to make decisions for someone who suffers from a mental or physical illness, a disability, or alcohol and drug dependency. A guardian makes decisions about arrangements for the adult ward’s housing, education, medical care, food, clothing, and social activities. They are responsible for most of the life decisions that must be made for their ward, including authorization or withholding of medical care, and living arrangements.
The guardian is limited in power, and cannot admit their ward to a mental health treatment facility or write a will for his ward, unless given a court order to do so. The guardian also has limited influence over most income or property issues.
A guardian is expected to proceed in the best interests of their ward. The guardian must provide their ward with the least restrictive environment in which they can remain safe. Guardianship should not be taken lightly.
A guardian, ward, or any other interested person may ask the court to stop the guardianship at any time. The judge will then hold a hearing and, if appropriate, discharge the guardian. In the situation where the ward dies, the guardian is required to report the death to the court and request that they discharge them from further liability.
Optimizing Your Case
Because of the cost and court involvement associated with guardianship, seeking legal help is suggested. The most commonly suggested alternative is the power of attorney. Simon Law Group is here to provide individuals with all the required ability to manage another person’s affairs, given that a competent individual freely provided the power.
With over 30 years of experience in family law, Simon Law Group is capable of obtaining positive results for clients seeking assistance in sensitive and complex areas. Whether you are or a family member is interested in providing or seeking guardianship, we have you covered. To speak with an expert in Arizona guardianship laws, please call 480-745-2450.