It is hard and scary when your elder loved one cannot take care of themselves or their money any more. While the court system to get someone appointed to help may seem daunting, you can get through with some help and the right navigation. Many people are confused about what to expect when filing a guardianship or conservatorship, and what happens after you file. Below is a basic timeline of what to expect. Not all of these will happen in your case, and this isn’t legal advice for your situation directly. Be sure to get direct legal advice regarding your particular situation. We offer a free 15 minute consultation regarding your situation, we hope that we can help you soon.
Here is what many people experience when becoming a guardian or a conservator for their disabled adult loved one:
1. Fill out and submit paperwork: I will prepare the paperwork and you will sign it. We will submit it to the court.
2. First appearance: If you are seeking an emergency guardianship there will be a first appearance very soon after the filing of the documents. If you are requesting a temporary guardianship or long term guardianship it will likely be about 6 weeks after filing.
3. Service on Ward: You will have to have the “ward” (the person who is being protected) served with the paperwork. I will work with you to find a way that will be the least disruptive way we can manage.
4. Determination of competence: If it has not already been done, we will have a professional opinion and evaluation of the person’s competence.
5. Court Visitor: The Court will appoint a Court Visitor. This is a neutral person who will visit with her and with you. They will make sure that no one is taking advantage of her or trying to pull a scam. They will confirm if she seems competent or not. They will make recommendations to the court.
6. Final appearance: The Court will issue orders making you guardian and/or conservator. We will go to a final appearance for this. The Ward may come or not come depending on their capacity.
7. Initial Report: Once you have been appointed you will have to fill out a report to provide to the court by a date generally within 60-90 days from the final appearance.
8. Ongoing reports: You have to provide ongoing annual reports to the Court about the person’s welfare and finances. You also have to notify the court if the Ward passes away.