Guardianships and conservatorships are legal arrangements in Arizona that involve the protection and management of individuals who are unable to make decisions or handle their own affairs.  Here is an overview of both:

Guardianship: A guardianship is established when a court appoints a guardian to make personal and health-related decisions for someone (referred to as the ward) who is unable to do so themselves. This typically applies to individuals with physical or mental disabilities, minors, or incapacitated adults. The guardian can make decisions regarding medical care, living arrangements, education, and other personal matters.

Conservatorship: A conservatorship, on the other hand, deals with the management of an individual’s financial and legal affairs. It is established when someone (referred to as the conservator) is appointed by the court to handle the financial matters of a person (who is incapable of managing their own assets. This could include managing bank accounts, paying bills, making investments, and handling legal matters.

In Arizona, both guardianships and conservatorships are subject to the Arizona Revised Statutes, which outline the legal requirements and procedures. The court oversees the process and ensures the best interests of the ward or protected person are met.

To establish a guardianship or conservatorship, interested parties must file a petition with the court and provide medical evidence supporting the need for such an arrangement. The court will then evaluate the evidence and determine whether guardianship or conservatorship is necessary and who should be appointed as the guardian or conservator.

The proposed Guardian and/or conservator will be required to take a class that informs them of their fiduciary obligations. Once appointed, guardians and conservators have ongoing responsibilities and are required to report to the court periodically. For example, a conservator is required to file an annual accounting of the ward’s assets with the Court and failure to do so can result in one’s removal as conservator.

It’s important to note that guardianships and conservatorships involve significant legal and administrative processes. Seeking legal guidance from an attorney specializing in elder law or probate is advisable to navigate the complexities of establishing and managing these arrangements in Arizona.