How Does the Court Determine the Cases of Contested Conservatorships?

How Does the Court Determine the Cases of Contested Conservatorships?

Even for a seasoned lawyer, managing the cases of contested conservatorships is particularly acrimonious and difficult. While this is an extremely sensitive matter, a number of complaints of conservatorship abuse seem to point fingers at the members of the family, who were given the responsibility. Even cases of children improperly seeking a conservatorship for sufficiently capable parents are quite common. This indeed calls for serious attention. The improper conservatorship has the potentiality of capturing the civil rights of any proposed conservatee.

Spouses and Children

It is indeed a sensitive issue when a spouse seeks conservatorship of the incapacitated other. While one might make the court petition out of general concern, there can also be cases where the proposed conservator financially and/or physically abuses the infirm partner. Again, in a series of cases, adult children tend to fight over the control of the allegedly disabled parents. Though in such cases of contested conservatorships, some families prefer to come to a peaceful solution through meditation, negotiation and the like, there are many who prefer ensuing litigation. Such cases are quite costly to continue. Therefore, it can take a tremendous toll on the person who actually needs help. As a result of these family feuds, the court might assign a counselor a professional fiduciary to double up as the conservator.  This is where one might need expert lawyers to find the best solution for the elderly in question.

About Competing Guardianship Applications

If more than a person applies for a ward’s guardianship simultaneously, the question of competing guardianship application comes into being. In such cases, the court would start analyzing all parties who have applied for guardianship. The judge would decide on the person best suited to serve the ward’s individual interests. In case two or more siblings propose to be the guardian, it can be a close call. This is especially so when all of them have similar backgrounds. However, the judge may ask each party to furnish with sufficient supports and evidence to prove their suitability for guardianship. Such situations are likely to get more complicated in case there are issues that involve the termination of the present guardianship period.

How Does the Court Decide On The Fittest Guardian?

In case of contested guardianship, the legal proceedings in the court often become inevitable. The court analyzes several factors before determining the best person for the guardianship of the ward. Some of the most obvious factors include the relationship of the proposed guardian to the conservatee, that is to say, whether they are related or just close friends and the nature of the condition of the conservatee (whether he/she is disabled or has special needs). The court will also inquire if there is any formal letter of guardianship. Such letters might contain his/her preferences or instructions regarding the proposed guardianship. Furthermore, the judge determines whether such conservatorship is being executed in an emergency. Factors like the nature of the proposed guardianship (temporary or permanent), the financial background, as well as the physical, mental and emotional stability of the proposed conservator, are also important.