A legal guardian has the authority to make many important decisions on behalf of a loved one or minor child. As a result, there are a number of legal steps to take in order to appoint a guardian. It is best to work with an experienced attorney during this process to make sure you make the right decisions for appointment of a guardian. Attorney Francie L. Novar has helped people in Washtenaw and surrounding counties in guardianship and conservatorship proceedings, and she can assist you in the appointment process and even offers guardianship services for interested clients who has an elderly parent in need of a guardian and/or conservator.
What is a legal guardian? When a loved one is unable to care for themselves, or if they cannot make informed decisions, it can be very difficult for family members to know what to do. In many such cases, it may be necessary to establish a guardianship and/or conservatorship for this person. A legal guardianship handles decisions about a person’s health and welfare, while a conservatorship handles the financial affairs of someone who can no longer make informed decisions about their financial affairs. In many cases, a guardian and conservator are the same person. Sometimes, children whose parents are unable to properly care for them, may need a guardian as well.
Under Michigan law, if someone believes that another person is unable to care for themselves, that person can petition the probate court to establish a guardianship and/or conservatorship. The incapacitated individuals themselves may also petition for guardianship. The court will review the petition and decide whether or not to approve that petition. Note that the petition must be filed in the probate court in the county where the individual lives resides or is located.
After receiving the petition, the probate court clerk will schedule a hearing date for a judge to consider the petition, and the petitioner must deliver copies of the petition to certain people before the hearing date. During the hearing, the judge will look for clear and convincing evidence of 2 things:
- the individual lacks the understanding or capacity to make or communicate informed decisions; and
- the appointment of a guardian is necessary to provide for the individual's continuing care and supervision.
If the incapacitated individual needs a guardian, the judge will appoint a suitable guardian who is willing to serve. If the individual needs a guardian but has some ability to take care of certain tasks, the judge may appoint a limited guardian to take care of only those things that the individual needs assistance with cannot.
Powers and Responsibilities of a Legal Guardian
A full guardian is responsible for the individual’s care, custody, and supervision, making sure that:
- the individual has proper food and clothing;
- the individual lives in a place that is appropriate for them;
- the individual’s medical needs are met; and
- the individual’s property is safe.
If a person is able to handle some of the activities of daily living, but not all, the court may appoint a limited guardian who will be responsible for only the specific duties listed in the court order.
In some cases, there may not be any family member who is able to act as a guardian, or sometimes family members may disagree over who should be appointed guardian or conservator. In these cases, it may be necessary to appoint an independent guardian or conservator. When Attorney Francie L. Novar acts as your loved one’s guardian, you can trust that you will get someone how is honest and caring. Attorney Novar will work hard to ensure that your loved one has the best possible care. She also provides reasonable pricing plans, with her rates for guardianship work on a sliding scale.
Our firm has substantial experience preparing and presenting guardianship petitions, and we will put forth a compelling case to the judge. Whether you have legal questions about appointing a guardian or what roles and duties a guardian has, Francie L. Novar, PLLC can assist you.
Contact our firm online for a free initial consultation to discuss your guardianship concerns today.