One of the most frequently asked questions that I receive at my law office, Spence Legal Services, is: “Do I need an attorney to get guardianship of my ________ (parent, son, daughter, spouse, etc.)?” The answer is “It depends”. On what?
- Whether the person over whom you are trying to obtain guardianship “the Respondent”) is in agreement that a guardianship is necessary. If he/she is contesting the action, you likely need an attorney.
- Whether one of the other “Interested Persons” (i.e. a sibling, a child, a spouse) will be contesting the need for a guardianship or who the appropriate person to be guardian or conservator should be. If someone is contesting it, you likely need an attorney.
- Whether the Respondent has significant personal property or real estate. If so, you will likely want an attorney because once you are appointed conservator, there are very specific procedures that must be followed in order to dispose of the assets.
- How much time you have to spend on the paperwork. While many of the forms that are necessary for initiating a guardianship are available on line, there are very specific notice requirements that must be followed and forms that must be filed in order for the guardianship to be considered by the court. If you proceed without an attorney, you are still required to follow the rules of court. If you fail to file the correct forms, or give the correct notice, there will be delays and you may not get the guardianship. For this reason, many people choose to hire an experienced guardianship attorney.