Guardianship or Conservatorship of an Elderly Person

Elder Guardianship Attorneys | Little Rock, Arkansas

When your friend or loved one is unable to communicate or to make sound legal, personal, or financial decisions, perhaps  because they are elderly or incapacitated, you may need to seek a guardianship to help care for them.

If you are granted guardianship over your loved one’s person or their finances, the law says that you are the “guardian” over the “ward” or their “estate.” The duties of a guardian can be encompassing or limited, and are dependent upon how much assistance the ward needs.

Generally, only one person can be designated as a guardianship; in some cases, however, guardianships are split, with one person serving as  guardian over the ward making their medical and placement decisions, while another is serving as  guardian over their estate making their financial decisions.

A guardianship case is a probate proceeding, and the court is protective of the constitutional rights of the ward, especially their due process rights. This means the laws and rules must be carefully followed. A Petition for Guardianship must be verified or affirmed under oath, by the person seeking the guardianship by having the petition notarized by a notary public.

Arkansas Legal Requirements

The Arkansas Probate Code requires that, for an elderly or incapacitated person to bound  under a guardianship, they must be determined to be incapacitated. Having limited mental or physical ability alone is not enough 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 his or her own estate. Often, they are unable to function to maintain their own health, care, and well-being on a regular basis, or to handle their own affairs. Their inability to handle these things must put them at risk for serious illness, physical injury, or loss of their assets and property.

Requirements to Obtain a Guardianship | AR

To obtain a guardianship in these circumstances, you must prove the ward’s incapacity an affidavit of a medical witness, often a physician, verifying the facts and validating the need for it. If there is an emergency concerning the ward or their estate, you be granted an Emergency Order for Temporary Guardianship, but the ward’s incapacity must also be proven. In non-emergency cases, a hearing cannot be held until at least 20 days after service of a Petition for Guardianship and any other necessary documents.

The court may appoint a special attorney known as an attorney ad litem to represent a ward. This must be paid for by the petitioner or the ward’s estate, in most cases.

Guardianship cases can be complicated. Let a local experienced guardianship attorney help you navigate the waters of the guardianship process. At Destiny Law Firm, PLLC, we will guide you through the process and advocate for your rights.

Conservatorship

A conservatorship in Arkansas is similar in procedure to a guardianship, but it is different than conservatorships granted in other states. In Arkansas, a conservatorship is granted when your friend or loved one was competent when they chose you to handle their affairs. In these proceedings, proof of incapacity is not needed, however proof of consent to the conservatorship is required, which means a hearing is needed concerning the evidence of consent your offer to the court.

Let a Guardianship Attorney Help

A guardianship case is usually a complex legal proceeding that requires special knowledge to navigate correctly. Attorney Destiny McHughes is a certified domestic relations and probate mediator, which allows her to handle domestic needs such as guardianship and conservatorship with exceptional skill.

Contact Destiny Law Firm, PLLC’s professional guardianship and conservatorship attorneys today.

Call our office at (501) 372-1200 to learn more, or schedule a consultation.