We are your legal resource for Arkansas guardianship and conservatorship
Sometimes people are unable to make or communicate personal, legal and/or financial decisions to manage themselves and the property, assets or debt. The person may need assistance only partially and can still do somethings for themselves and may only need a limited guardian. Most people who need assistance from others need a full Guardianship of the Person or Guardianship of the Estate or both.
A guardianship case is a probate proceeding. This means the laws and rules must be carefully followed and are required to be verified under oath as to their truth and as to the identity of the person signing the document and thus, must be notarized by a Notary Public.
The Arkansas Probate Code requires that for a person to be under a Guardianship they must be determined to be incapacitated. Having limited mental or physical ability is not sufficient alone to obtain a guardianship.
An incapacitated person is one who is impaired by a disability to such a degree that the person lacks sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate decisions to maintain his or her own health or safety or to manage their own estate. They generally are unable to function to maintain their own health, care and wellbeing on a consistent basis and handle their own affairs. This has to occur to a point they are at risk of serious illness or physical injury or loss of their assets and property.
There are generally two aspects to this such that there are personal matters and financial matters. The first part involves Guardianship of the Person. This includes functioning with regard to daily living including medical care and needs as well as psychological and psychiatric needs and independently living ability. Adaptive functioning is considered as well. The other aspect is as to money matters and financial affairs and this is covered by a Guardianship of the Estate.
Only one person may serve as a Guardian of the Person. Two people may jointly serve as Guardian of the estate if they are married parents of a child. A guardianship may be a full plenary Guardianship or may be a Limited Guardianship of the Person or Estate limited to only performing certain functions.
To obtain a guardianship you must show the person is a minor and the parents or parents are unable to care for them or prove the incapacity by a doctor’s affidavit or other professional verifying the facts and need for it. If there is an Emergency that must be proven as well and in that case 3 hearings are necessary instead of just one. This can triple the cost of the proceedings as might be expected. Otherwise a hearing cannot be held until at least 20 days after service of the Petition for Guardianship and any other necessary documents.
The person who is under the guardianship is known as the Ward. A court may appoint a special attorney known as an attorney ad litem to represent the Ward in some cases but this must be paid for by the petitioner or the Ward’s estate in most cases.
A Conservatorship is a similar proceeding in Arkansas but different than that in other states. In Arkansas it is done where the person is mentally competent but chooses to have someone handle their affairs.
A guardianship case is usually a complex legal proceeding that requires special knowledge to navigate correctly. Attorney Destiny McHughes is a Certified Domestic Relation & Probate Mediator, which allows her to handle domestic needs such as guardianship and conservatorship with exceptional skill.
Call our office today at (501) 372-1200 to learn more or schedule a consultation.
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