Guardianship & Conservatorship Lawyers | Summit Office | Serving Liberty, MS
PO Box 662, Summit, MS 39666
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If so, you may have questions on how you can safeguard the best interests of the person you will be helping in matters of health and finance. Consult with a Liberty guardianship and conservatorship attorney who can answer all your questions regarding being a guardian or conservator for your loved one.
A guardian is a family member, close friend, or other responsible adult who the court appoints to take care of a minor child (the ward) or incompetent adult and manage hat person’s affairs. A conservator also can be a family member, close friend, or other responsible adult who is appointed by a judge to manage the financial affairs and daily life of a person (the conservatee) who is unable to care for him or herself because of illness, old age, or other infirmity.
Any person who requires guardianship or conservatorship can make a request. If this is the case, you’ll need a lawyer for the legal proceedings, especially if the guardianship or conservatorship is contested.
Attorneys specializing in elder law, guardianship, or estate planning can help if you need to file or defend yourself against a guardianship or conservatorship. In cases where a conservatorship is contested by one side or the other, options such as a revocable trust (or living trust, where provisions remain alterable by the granter of the trust) may also be considered. Regardless, you’ll need to be sure to file all necessary paperwork. The LawInfo directory can help you find Guardianship lawyers near you in Liberty.
Getting a guardianship is also fairly simple if all parties agree. You’ll usually need a letter of consent from both parents and a filing fee. Interviews will likely occur between all parties, including the child, adult, or senior becoming a ward, their parents or next of kin, and the potential guardian or guardians. You might also need a criminal background check and a home inspection before the court agrees to grant guardianship.
Terminating a guardianship can be a lengthy and involved process. First, you’ll need to file the appropriate paperwork with the court, including a petition to terminate the guardianship and either a citation or notice of hearing. The citation is typically used if the subject of the guardianship is living, and the notice if the subject is deceased. You’ll also need to gather relevant documents, such as doctor’s notes, state-level guardianship documents, and in some cases, a final accounting.
Legal documents are served to the subject of the guardianship, their new guardian(s), the subject’s relevant relatives, and the subject’s attorney. These documents should be sent via certified mail with a return receipt. A court hearing will typically follow.
In a conservatorship, a conservatee can petition the court to terminate the arrangement if they can prove that they are of sound mind or their existing conservator is acting against their best interests. You can also cancel a conservatorship by natural courses such as the death of the conservatee, discharge of their estate, or by the conservator relinquishing their position.
Lawyers who practice family law often handle guardianships, especially if they are temporary guardianships. On the other hand, lawyers specializing in estate planning usually manage conservatorships. Given that most conservatorships include fiduciary duties and other financial considerations, it makes sense to retain the services of an experienced estate planning lawyer for conservatorships.
In some states and under specific contexts, guardianship and conservatorship can be used interchangeably, but there are differences.
A guardian more commonly refers to someone who is appointed to care for a child or minor. Conservators typically tend to the affairs of an elderly or an individual who a court has determined is mentally incapacitated. Also, in a guardianship, the guardian is generally responsible for making health care and overall wellness decisions for their wards. The appointed conservator makes more financial decisions in a conservatorship, often regarding an estate or other assets.
In legal practice, experience matters. An experienced attorney will likely have handled issues similar to yours many, many times. Therefore, after listening to your situation, the attorney should have a reasonable idea of the time line for a case like yours and the likely resolution.
An experienced lawyer should be able to communicate a basic “road map” on how to proceed. The lawyer should be able to walk you through the anticipated process, key considerations, and potential pitfalls to avoid. Once you’ve laid out the facts of your situation to the lawyer, he/she should be able to frame expectations and likely scenarios to help you understand your legal issue.
In general, how much an attorney costs will often depend on these four factors: billing method and pricing structure, type of legal work performed, law firm prestige, and attorney experience. Depending on the legal issue you are facing, an attorney may bill you by the hour, settle on a flat fee, or enter into a contingency fee agreement. The type of legal work you need help with will also play a role in cost incurred.
Plaintiff – a person or party who brings a lawsuit against another person(s) or party/parties in a court of law. Private persons or parties can only file suit in civil court.
Judgment – A decision of the court. Also known as a decree or order. Judgments handed down by the court are usually binding on the parties before the court.