Yes, you can fight a guardianship!

Stan is a bright, distinguished, active and engaging Utahn in his mid-eighties.  This last year he has had serious medical problems and financial losses from a prior business. When he went to surgery, he asked his married daughter, Emily, to help him manage his bills for awhile. That was a mistake. When she saw the decline in his investments, she hired a lawyer and filed a court petition to have herself appointed as his guardian and

Stan came to us for help.

A guardian is a person who is appointed to manage another’s personal affairs. A conservator is a person appointed to manage another’s financial affairs.

In Utah, a guardian or conservator of an adult can be appointed by the court if the judge finds that the person is unable to manage his or her own affairs because of “mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication,” or similar causes.

In many cases, a guardianship or conservatorship is necessary and helpful. In this case, it would have been a disastrous intrusion into Stan’s privacy and dignity. Two of Stan’s physicians who had not seen him since the surgery signed affidavits against him, and the case looked bleak for awhile. But, Stan made a rapid recovery from the surgery and Emily wouldn’t back off. So, we went to court for Stan. We won.

Most seniors in this situation are scared and believe they have no choice but to go along with the whole matter. They recognize that they have slowed over the years and fear they will be blamed by the judge for the decline in their investments. They feel they cannot fight a medical opinion. But, sometimes they can.

If this is you, or if you have any questions about these issues, you would be smart to see a lawyer to discuss you situation. These are serious issues and your dignity is at risk.

Yes, you can fight a guardianship!

(Note: we do not disclose the identities, stories and confidences of our clients. While stories in this blog may describe real events and real people, we alter names and facts to protect the true identities of the people involved.)

Published January 1, 2008, © 2008