Incapacity/Guardianship: Protecting Those Who Cannot Protect Themselves


Incapacity can strike anyone at anytime, perhaps without notice—no one is completely immune from illness, injury, aging, or disability. Or, a person may still have capacity to make decisions but could use support from others. Ideally, you establish a plan before disaster strikes. Charlotte C. Johnson and the other estate planning attorneys at Davis Miles McGuire Gardner, PLLC, have years of experience to help you establish the right legal tools (such as a trust and powers of attorney) and identify resources that can support and protect you and your property in the event of your incapacity. However, if incapacity has already struck, and it is too late to sign legal documents or additional protection is needed, or the person in need of protection is a child with assets, Ms. Johnson can help you navigate the complicated guardianship or conservatorship process through the courts. Guardianship or conservatorship is usually a last resort—Ms. Johnson can help you determine whether any other alternatives may meet your loved ones’ needs. Does your child have special needs? Ms. Johnson can help you determine whether guardianship is appropriate to enable you to continue to take care of your child, once they reach adulthood.

What Is Guardianship?

In Arizona, it is the court appointment of a person to make decisions for an incapacitated person in need of protection, such as:
  • Health care
  • Mental/behavioral health care
  • Living arrangements
  • Education
  • Personal decisions

What Is  Conservatorship?

In Arizona, it is the court appointment of a person to make financial decisions for a person whose property is in need of protection due to his/her physical or mental condition, or to access funds for his/her benefit. This includes when minor children receive funds or assets worth more than $10,000, such as an inheritance. Typically, a conservatorship is not necessary if the only property a person in need of protection has is their Social Security or Veterans’ income.