Understanding Adult Guardianship in Utah
Adult guardianship is a legal arrangement that authorizes a capable adult, or guardian, to make decisions for another adult, referred to as the protected person or ward.
Under Utah law, a guardian may be appointed if an adult is determined to be incapacitated. This means that the adult lacks the ability to adequately evaluate information, make decisions or provide for his or her own basic life necessities.
Guardianship arrangements can vary based on the specific needs of the protected individual. However, the basic legal structure remains fairly consistent.
Utah Adult Guardianship and Responsibilities
Generally, a guardian is responsible for ensuring that the day-to-day needs of the protected person are met.
Guardians may live with the incapacitated adult, although this isn’t always the case. Sometimes they simply arrange for proper care and medical treatment and monitor the ward’s caregivers.
Depending upon the needs and abilities of the protected person, a guardian may make decisions about specific health or professional care, such as counseling or related services. Guardians also routinely determine where the ward will live and what education he or she will receive, if appropriate.
In some cases, it may be the guardian’s job to provide for basic needs such as food and clothing.
Types of Adult Guardianship Established by Utah Courts
Limited guardianship is typically preferred under Utah law.
Under this type of guardianship, the guardian’s authority is tailored to the needs and abilities of the protected person. The ward maintains some responsibilities, but certain rights are delegated to the guardian. In these cases, the guardian only bears the specific obligations listed in the court order.
If the court finds that a limited guardianship arrangement would not be adequate, full or plenary authority may be granted. This essentially gives the guardian the same rights and responsibilities as parents would have for their children.
With either type of adult guardianship, the guardian is not financially responsible for providing care for the protected person.
Adult Guardianships and Conservatorships
In some Utah adult guardianship cases, a conservator is also appointed to oversee the money and assets of the protected person. This may involve managing bank accounts, handling investments and taking care of real estate, for example. Conservators typically report to the court on a regular basis regarding the ward’s estate.
When no conservatorship has been established, the guardian generally takes on some responsibility in these matters. Guardians can, however, petition the court to appoint a conservator. According to the Utah courts, a conservator may be advised in certain guardianship situations, such as with wards who have significant assets or incomes or are involved in ongoing business affairs or investments.
In Ogden, Utah, and the surrounding areas, the attorneys of Burton Law Firm, P.C. provide legal services in the areas of family law, divorce, child custody and related matters. If you have a loved one that may require guardianship, let our experienced and compassionate attorneys guide you through the process. Contact our office today to schedule a consultation.