Adult Guardianship

Highly Experienced Estate Planning Lawyers Serving Residents of Traverse City, Michigan

It is a sad moment when we realize a parent who once cared for us is having difficulty caring for themselves. It is difficult for both the parent, accustomed to providing for the child, as well as the child, who is now confronted with the mortality of their parent.

If a loved one is having trouble making appropriate decisions or maintaining the responsibilities of everyday living, someone may need to help. Of course, the person helping may find themselves in a position where they need to have legal authority to act on behalf of their parent. This may even happen when a parent refuses to accept help. In Michigan, guardianship is necessary to obtain legal authority to manage someone’s healthcare and daily life. A conservatorship will provide authority to manage someone’s finances. It is not uncommon for a person to need both a guardian and a conservator, which can be the same person or different people.

At the Michigan estate planning law firm of the Neumann Law Group, we’ve assembled a dedicated team of attorneys who take great pride in helping clients navigate some of life’s most challenging moments. While we are the first ones to admit that planning ahead is the best way to avoid the need for a guardianship proceeding, there are still solutions for those without comprehensive estate plans—and we can help you find them.

Obtaining a Guardianship in Michigan

To obtain a guardianship, the person requesting the guardianship must petition the probate court in the county where the individual in need resides—called the ward. The petitioner must demonstrate that the potential ward lacks the legal capacity to make his or her own life decisions. The court will review the petition and appoint a “guardian ad litem.” This is different from the guardian. A guardian ad litem (“GAL”) is typically an attorney whose role is to review the facts and circumstances and, to the best of the GAL’s ability, advocate for the potential ward’s best interests, whether that is the appointment of a guardian or otherwise.

After the GAL prepares a report, the court will consider the petition. If the potential ward is not resisting the appointment, the court may appoint a guardian. If the potential ward is contesting the appointment, an evidentiary hearing will be held, where both the petitioner, the potential ward, or respondent and the GAL will attend. Each will present their position, and at the conclusion, the probate court will make a decision.

When Should You Seek Guardianship?

People may need a guardian due to the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s, but a guardian may also be appointed for an adult with mental illness or deficiency, physical illness or inability, or chronic substance abuse. The petition to be filed, as well as any court appearances, will have different needs depending on the reason and purpose for the guardianship.

Can You Avoid the Need to Establish Guardianship?

Avoiding the need for guardianship in Michigan involves proactive planning and decision-making, especially concerning health care and financial matters. Below are a few strategies that can help you maintain control over their affairs and potentially avoid the need for a court-appointed guardian:

By implementing these strategies, you can maintain greater control over your personal and financial matters, potentially avoiding the need for guardian proceedings in the event of incapacity.

Are You Interested in Learning More About the Guardianship Process in Michigan?

To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, give the Traverse City estate planning lawyers at the Neumann Law Group a call at 800-525-6386. You can also connect with us through our online contact form.

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