In most cases that we see, a guardianship is completely unnecessary and entirely avoidable. It is important to think twice before proceeding with a guardianship proceeding.
A guardianship is akin to a civil arrest. In many cases, an individual under a guardianship has fewer rights than a prisoner. Even worse, once under a guardianship, it can be very difficult and time consuming to remove it. Additionally, once a guardianship is in place, the court appointed guardian has a continuing obligation to file annual reports and accountings with the the court. These annual responsibilities can be confusing, difficult, and very time consuming.
To the extent possible, our office will advise you to avoid a guardianship unless it is absolutely necessary. There are, unfortunately, circumstances where a guardianship is simply unavoidable. However, even in these cases, it might be possible to have a very limited guardianship in place. If a social worker, county official, or other individual or entity is recommending a guardianship, then we strongly recommend that you sit down with a qualified attorney to determine what, if anything, is necessary.
It is also important to note that if a guardianship is imposed, it may have an adverse impact on asset preservation strategies in the face of long-term care. This is yet another reason why we strongly recommend looking at as many alternatives as possible.
If you have a guardianship case, or believe you have a guardianship case, you can contact our office for assistance. We get will get as many facts from you as possible during this first phone call in order to determine if it is a case that we would be able to help you with.
We will likely meet or have a more lengthy phone conference to discuss the specifics of your case. This will allow us to determine if a guardianship is even necessary. In most cases we are able to make alternative recommendations, which often helps keep asset preservation strategies on the table. In cases where a guardianship is in fact required, we will present you with a fee agreement where we will work on your behalf for an hourly rate.
In the event that a guardianship is required, we will work with you to prepare and file all necessary court documents. We will also help arrange the appropriate opinions of physicians and psychologists. In some cases, we may be retained solely for the purpose of getting court permission to transfer assets or to engage in Medicaid planning and asset preservation. In any event, we will handle all the court filings and court appearances.
After a guardian is appointed, it will be necessary for the guardian to file an inventory with the court. We can be retained to assist with preparing and filing the guardianship inventory. Additionally, the guardian will have a continuing obligation to file annual accountings with the court. Again, we can be retained to assist with completing these annual accountings.