At Red Law of Ogden, Utah can provide you the experience you need to help you navigate through the state’s guardianship laws. We have successfully represented individuals in heavily contested guardianship proceedings. We have also represented individuals in cases where guardianship needed to be awarded so emergency decisions could be made. Whatever your circumstances, we can provide you with the legal representation necessary so you can properly care for your loved ones.
Under Utah law, when one person is awarded guardianship over another they are called a “guardian.” The guardian is legally authorized to make certain decisions for another person who is incapable of making decisions for themselves. Typically, a guardianship is sought in the following situations:
- An adult child seeks guardianship over their elderly parent so they can properly care for them.
- One family member seeks guardianship over another. This can occur in immediate families, such as a sister seeking to care for her brother, or in extended families, such as one cousin seeking to care for another cousin.
- Parents seek guardianship over their adult children who are disabled.
In order to become a guardian, the court must grant approval. This means you must first file a “Petition for Guardianship” and have a hearing before a judge. This judge will verify that a guardian is appropriate given the circumstances.
A Guardian’s Responsibilities
In Utah, a person can be granted limited guardianship or full guardianship.
A limited guardianship limits the types of decisions you can make. If a limited guardianship is awarded, the court will tell you exactly what types of decisions you can make for the person you are caring for.
In a full guardianship, you are responsible for several things, including:
- Determining where the protected person lives.
- Determining what type of health care he/she receives.
- Ensuring the protected person’s health is being properly taken care of (i.e. medications, rehabilitation, treatment, etc.).
- Making sure he/she is properly fed, clothed, and comforted.
- Protecting his/her rights and making sure they are not taken advantage of.
Possible Need for Conservatorship
In Utah, guardians don’t typically look after the protected person’s income or financial resources. Instead, that job is usually reserved for a conservator. Because of this, people will often ask the court to appoint them as a conservator and a guardian at the same time. A conservator’s job is to:
- Take care and keep track of the protected person’s personal belongings and their property.
- Use the protected person’s income and financial resources to pay for the person’s healthcare, support, comfort, bills, and debts.
- Invest or sell the person’s assets, if needed, to ensure they have the funds necessary to pay for healthcare.
Without being awarded conservatorship, it can be difficult to access bank accounts and pay for things like mortgages, debts, and healthcare. Failure to take care of these issues can result in the loss of a home, the inability to continue healthcare, or creditors turning unpaid debts into collection agencies.