Guardianship and Conservatorship Petitions in Ann Arbor, MI
If you or a loved one is facing guardianship or conservatorship petitions, you should speak to a probate lawyer.
The process can be complicated and overwhelming. You need an experienced attorney to protect your interests and guide you through the steps.
At Bassett Murray Law Group, we assist clients across Ann Arbor, MI, with guardianship and conservatorship petitions and related matters. Call 734-930-9200 today to discuss your needs.
What Is the Difference Between Guardianship and Conservatorship?
A guardian makes decisions about your personal needs, such as health care and housing. A conservator manages your property and finances. The same person or institution can be your guardian and conservator, or they can be different.
Who Needs a Guardian or Conservator?
You may need a guardian or conservator if you can no longer care for yourself or your affairs because of incapacitation.
The law defines incapacitated individuals as those unable to make or communicate informed decisions due to:
- Physical illness
- Mental illness
- Mental deficiency
- Chronic drug or alcohol use
- Other causes
A guardian or conservator may not be necessary if an alternative arrangement is in place, such as a Designation of Patient Advocate or Durable Power of Attorney.
Who Appoints Guardians and Conservators in Michigan? What Does the Process Entail?
A probate court appoints both guardians and conservators. The process looks like this:
Filing a Petition
To start the proceedings, an eligible person (the petitioner) files a petition with the court. The person for whom they seek guardianship or conservatorship is called a respondent. A petitioner can be:
- A mentally competent person seeking a conservator for themselves
- Anyone interested in the respondent’s welfare, estate, or affairs
- Anyone who may suffer negative consequences from poor management of the respondent’s property, finances, or business
The court sets a hearing date. In the meantime, the petitioner must send copies of the petition to certain interested persons, including:
- The respondent’s agent and presumptive heirs
- The nominated guardian or conservator
- Government agencies paying social security and other benefits to the respondent
Investigating the Case
The judge examines the facts and appoints a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is a court investigator who examines the claims in the petition, talks with respondent and the interested parties, and makes recommendations to the judge. If the respondent does not agree with the petition, an attorney of the respondent’s choice can be engaged, or the court would appoint an attorney to represent the respondent.
Deciding on the Petition
The court will hold a hearing to determine:
- If respondent can manage their own affairs
- If respondent can make informed decisions about their care and living arrangements
- If there are alternative ways of making decisions for an incapacitated individual
- If their assets will be wasted or dissipated unless properly managed, or the respondent requires funds for support and care
- Who among those with priority to serve are suitable to serve
- What limitations to put on the authority of the guardian and conservator
The judge decides whether to grant the petition and, if so, issues a court order appointing a conservator or guardian of the person.
Need Help with Guardianship and Conservatorship Petitions?
At Bassett Murray Law Group, we can assist residents in Washtenaw County, MI, and surrounding counties with guardianship and conservatorship petitions and all related matters. Call 734-930-9200 today to discuss your needs.