If someone loses the ability to make an "informed consent", or the ability to physically participate in activities of daily living (ADLs) they need to seek formal assistance. It often becomes clear that care providers, a family member, friend or agency needs to become a guardian and/or conservator for them. Without much understanding of the responsibilities of these positions, it can be overwhelming for family and friends to handle the day-to-day needs of those they care about. This is where SAI traditionally becomes involved.
A Guardian protects the person. In essence, they are asked to make sound decisions for those who are incapacitated. For example, issues that require attention include ensuring quality food, proper medical attention, housing and attending to legal issues.
A conservator protects the estate. When someone’s net worth is over $21,000, involves litigation, operation of a business or includes property, conservatorship should be considered. Conservators gather all assets of the estate. They make decisions about investments and how to best handle and minimize expenses.
Yes, in both cases. There can be up to 2 people as guardian and 2 people as the conservator.
The probate court is a resource for families who seek legal assistance. It was established to handle cases involving incapacitated individuals. In general, a guardian is appointed after a court appointed lawyer called the guardian ad litem (GAL) reviews the case.
If no attorney is involved, an interested party can go directly to the Probate Court and file a petition. Interested individuals must be related to the injured party by blood relationships, marriage, friendship, or be a professional care provider to that individual.
The petitioner is then asked to complete a form covering basic information regarding the injured party, the family and the estate. To file for guardianship, one must also attach a doctor's report supporting the individual’s need for a guardian. This serves as protection for the injured party.
Facilities that house injured individuals can petition to have a guardian or conservator appointed just like anyone else. However, under the current probate code, a facility cannot become the guardian or conservator due to a potential conflict of interest.
When there is litigation involved, it is best to consult the injured party's attorney for advice. Attorneys will help file the probate petition under such circumstances.
When no parent is able or deemed suitable to care for their child, the process follows the same course as adult guardianship. The only difference is the form used for the petition. On their 18thbirthday, guardianship ends. If the incapacity continues, an adult petition must then be filed with the court.
Care management is the day-to-day coordination of services that families and/or the injured party receive to address needed services. We establish a care team and manage the levels of care for injured persons in a balanced way, taking into account budgets, needs and all care team members.
An expert witness is a witness who has knowledge not normally possessed by the average person concerning a specific topic. Steve is considered an expert regarding guardianship and conservatorship related to auto injuries. He works with law firms to testify in a variety of cases.
Steve consults, or advises interested parties related to legal, estate or care management issues. He provides his services to a wide range of people including care facilities, family meetings, lawyers, the courts and other care providers.