Greeley, CO Guardianship Attorneys
In the state of Colorado, the court has the authority to assign a guardian for individuals who are either minors or deemed incapacitated adults. These individuals are referred to as "wards." The rules governing guardianships vary depending on whether the ward is a minor or an incapacitated adult.
An individual who is the subject of a guardianship proceeding is known as the "respondent." Once the court determines a person to be incapacitated, they are referred to as a "ward" if a guardian is appointed.
Having a lawyer for a guardianship case in Colorado is highly recommended due to the complex legal processes involved. Guardianship cases require a thorough understanding of the relevant laws, regulations, and court procedures. A lawyer can assist in preparing the necessary legal documents, such as the petition for guardianship, supporting affidavits, and other required forms.
A lawyer can represent you in court proceedings, presenting your case effectively and advocating for your interests. They have experience handling guardianship hearings, providing arguments, examining witnesses, and addressing legal challenges.
At Peek Goldstone, LLC, our experienced guardianship lawyers can provide all the above services to help you seek or contest guardianship in Greeley, Erie, and the surrounding areas.
Reserve your confidential consultation with a Greeley guardianship attorney by calling us at (970) 442-5281. You can also contact us online.
Guardianships for Incapacitated Adults
According to the Colorado Probate Code, an incapacitated adult is an adult who lacks the ability to receive or evaluate information, make decisions, or communicate effectively. This inability extends to a point where the individual cannot meet essential physical health, safety, or self-care requirements, even with appropriate and reasonably available technology.
Determining incapacity requires a functional analysis and should not be solely based on a specific diagnosis, although the court will consider such information. The critical consideration is whether the person can decide in their best interest regarding their affairs. For instance, if an adult has been diagnosed with mild dementia but can still make sound decisions regarding their personal affairs, they would not require guardianship, and a guardian would not be appointed.
What Is the Difference Between a Guardian & a Conservator in Colorado?
Colorado makes a distinction between a guardian and a conservator.
According to the Colorado Probate Code, a guardian is appointed by the court to make decisions regarding a ward’s personal affairs and well-being. This includes decisions related to healthcare, living arrangements, and other personal matters. The guardian must act in the ward’s best interests and meet their physical and emotional needs.
The court appoints a conservator to handle financial matters on behalf of a “protected person.” The conservator is responsible for managing the protected person's assets, paying bills, making investments, and handling other financial transactions. They ensure that the protected person's financial affairs are managed properly and in their best interests.
Sometimes, the court may appoint the same person to serve as both the guardian and conservator if it is deemed necessary and in the protected person’s best interests.
Who Can Be a Guardian in Colorado?
Any person concerned about an adult’s well-being can file a guardianship case and potentially become a guardian. The court has the authority to appoint a guardian for a minor or an adult. Generally, any person who is 21 years or older may be appointed as a guardian.
Types of Guardianships
Limited and emergency guardianship are two distinct types of guardianships with specific purposes.
A limited guardianship is established when a court determines that an individual is partially incapacitated and unable to manage some aspects of their life but still retains certain rights and abilities. In limited guardianship, the court grants the guardian authority over only specific areas of the person's life where they require assistance or support.
The scope of limited guardianship can vary based on the individual's needs. For example, the court may grant the guardian decision-making authority in areas such as healthcare, finances, or housing, while allowing the person to retain decision-making power in other aspects of their life.
Limited guardianship aims to balance protecting the individual's rights and autonomy while providing necessary support or protection in specific areas where they are deemed incapacitated.
An emergency guardianship is a temporary measure put in place when there is an immediate need for a guardian to act on behalf of an individual due to urgent circumstances. Emergency guardianships are typically granted when there is a risk to the person's health, safety, or well-being and insufficient time to follow the regular guardianship process.
The basis for emergency guardianship is an imminent threat or danger requiring immediate intervention. It may be granted without a full hearing or notice to interested parties, but it is subject to subsequent review by the court.
Emergency guardianships are designed to provide expedited decision-making authority to protect the individual from harm until a more comprehensive evaluation and determination regarding a long-term guardianship arrangement can be made.
Guardianships for Minors
A guardian for a minor is appointed to make decisions on behalf of a child who is under the age of 18. On the other hand, a guardian for an incapacitated adult is appointed to make decisions for an adult who has been deemed legally incapacitated by the court due to physical or mental limitations.
The guardianship of a minor automatically ends when the child turns 19 years old. A guardian for a minor typically has broader decision-making authority, including decisions related to education, healthcare, and general welfare. Guardianships for children often require regular reports to the court.
Both guardianships are subject to court oversight, but the level of scrutiny may vary. The legal requirements and responsibilities for guardianship can vary based on individual circumstances and court decisions.
Turn to Peek Goldstone, LLC for Experienced Guardianship Representation
Our firm has been a stable resource for individuals and families in Greeley, Erie, Weld, and Boulder counties for decades.
If you need legal assistance with any aspect of guardianship or conservatorship, we can help. Representation from one of our team provides peace of mind and legal experience and increases the likelihood of a successful outcome in these cases.
Call (970) 442-5281 for legal help today.