Adult Guardianship Lawyers in Davis County

Providing Supportive Legal Services For Individuals and Families

It can be challenging to watch an older family member struggle with making decisions or become incapacitated to the point they are no longer able to manage their affairs. In other cases, individuals who are of legal age are unable to make sound choices due to mental illness, prolonged drug use, or disability.

For these reasons, Utah has laws that allow individuals to petition to act as a guardian on behalf of the incapacitated individual to protect their interests. However, obtaining guardianship can be challenging without a legal professional to assist you.

If you would like more information or want to request a form of guardianship, contact our law offices and schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced lawyer immediately.

A lawyer can advise you of the different types of guardianship available and help you determine the best legal option for the situation.

What is Adult Guardianship?

The Utah probate system has provisions that allow an individual, referred to as the guardian, to make legal decisions on behalf of an incapacitated person, referred to as the “ward.”

State law also has specific rules for what it means to be “incapacitated” to establish adult guardianship. The first step is to conduct a court hearing to determine whether the individual meets the qualifications to be considered incapacitated. The court will evaluate the individual’s ability to make and communicate competent decisions.

If the judge decides that the individual cannot make responsible decisions based on their lack of capacity or understanding, the court may rule they are “incapacitated” and appoint a guardian to protect their interests and safety.

In Utah, limited guardianship is preferred over full guardianship as it allows the ward to maintain certain rights.

Nevertheless, if the courts decide that a limited guardianship does not sufficiently meet the ward’s needs, a plenary or full guardianship may be granted. Full guardianship grants the appointed guardian the same rights that parents have when acting in the best interests of their minor children.

However, it should be stated that regardless of what type of guardianship is granted, guardians are not legally obligated to provide care or financial support for the ward.

Who Can Be Appointed as a Guardian?

When deciding adult guardianship, Utah law dictates that priority should be given to the individual selected by the proposed ward to serve as guardian on their behalf. However, if the proposed ward does not choose anyone to act as their guardian, then state law gives priority to other individuals, which include:

  • A spouse
  • Adult Child
  • Parent
  • Specialized care professional.
  • Relative with whom the proposed ward has lived for at least six months before the filing of a petition for guardianship.
  • An individual nominated by a person who is providing care to the proposed ward.

Before any individual can be appointed to act as an adult guardian, the person must take a test regarding the responsibilities and legal authority to act in the role. The test is only meant to help individuals understand their duties and legal responsibilities when acting as guardians. After completing the test, the individual must file a Certificate of Completion with the court.

If the proposed ward has selected you to act as guardian or you wish to request guardianship, contact the Woods Cross, UT law office of Fontenot Law, P.C., and schedule a meeting with an adult guardianship attorney who can assist you with your legal needs.

What Decisions Can an Adult Guardian Make For the Ward?

The scope of the decisions an adult guardian can make for the ward greatly depends on whether the court orders full or limited guardianship.

Utah law stipulates that in a limited guardianship, the guardian only has legal authority to make decisions previously outlined in a court order. However, under full guardianship, the guardian is legally authorized to make the majority of decisions necessary to act on behalf of the ward.

The court will often appoint a conservator to make decisions regarding the ward’s personal or real property. In cases where a court appoints a conservator, they will make decisions regarding the ward’s assets and other financial matters. Some common examples include overseeing bank accounts, healthcare matters, and investments.

In cases where the ward is not placed under conservatorship, the guardian will assume many of these same duties.

If you are still trying to understand the decisions an adult guardian is authorized to make, contact our Woods Cross, UT, law office for more information.

Can I Count on Fontenot Law, P.C. to Provide Compassionate Legal Assistance?

Fontenot Law, P.C. recognizes that requesting adult guardianship of a loved one can be overwhelming. No one ever wants to believe their loved one or close friend may need someone to protect their interests because they have become incapacitated.

However, adult guardianships are sometimes necessary to ensure that the ward is not taken advantage of and does not make decisions that may ultimately hurt them in the long run.

Our attorneys have extensive experience assisting families and others with their adult guardianship legal issues. Our legal team strives to treat clients with the care and compassion they deserve as they navigate through this chapter of their lives.

If you wish to be named as an adult guardian or have questions regarding the legal process, contact our law office at 801-448-0156 and schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney.