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How to Appoint a Guardian or Conservator for an Adult or a Disabled Child Turning 18

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Someone who is or becomes incapable of managing their personal or financial affairs will need a trustworthy family member or close friend to handle these duties on their behalf. This arrangement is called a guardianship when it is for a person who needs assistance managing physical and healthcare needs and a conservatorship when it is for someone needing assistance with financial affairs.

However, if the appropriate estate planning steps have not been taken before the onset of disability, the potential guardian or conservator must take legal steps before assuming their role. Here is everything you need to know about how to protect your vulnerable loved one in Kansas.

When Guardianship/Conservatorship Is Needed 

There are two main situations when petitioning the court for a guardianship or conservatorship becomes necessary:

  1. For adults who have become impaired and can no longer meet their own essential needs – If no less restrictive alternatives will sufficiently provide care for this individual, a guardianship allows an appointed person to step in.
  2. For disabled minors who are turning 18 and will still require assistance when legally becoming an adult – If a minor is impaired in a manner expected to persist past age 18, parents can petition the court to have an appointed guardian take over care when the disabled child reaches adulthood. 

In either scenario, the impaired adult or teenager must demonstrably lack the mental and physical capacity to either manage their own self-care and meet vital needs or responsibly handle their financial and legal affairs.

The Appointment Process 

The first step in legally appointing a guardian or conservator is to file a petition in the local district court. This petition will state why the appointment is necessary, provide personal details about the proposed ward/conservatee, list their nearest relatives, describe their assets, and suggest an appropriate guardian/conservator.

A medical report and examination must be filed with the court within five days of the petition. The court will also set a trial date, appoint an attorney for the proposed ward/conservatee, and issue notices to all involved parties.

Before issuing formal letters of appointment, the proposed guardian/conservator must file an oath pledging to faithfully carry out their duties. A conservator may also have to post a bond to protect the conservatee’s estate.

Ongoing Obligations

After their appointment, the guardian/conservator takes on lasting duties and obligations. These include:

  • Submitting annual reports and accountings to the court
  • Ensuring the guardianship/conservatorship is administered reasonably
  • Pursuing restoration to capacity if the ward/conservatee’s condition improves
  • Requesting termination if the guardianship/conservatorship is no longer needed due to death, recovery, or other factors

The court closely monitors each guardianship and conservatorship to protect the rights and interests of the incapacitated individual.

Contact Colgan Law Firm, LLC, Today

If you need help establishing a guardianship or conservatorship for a vulnerable loved one, the compassionate Kansas attorneys at Colgan Law Firm, LLC, want to meet you at your convenience. Our team has a thorough knowledge of the legal process and can handle the complicated procedural steps on your behalf, so you can focus on more important matters. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn more.

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