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Any North Carolina resident with minor children knows how many decisions are to be made that influence a child’s life. From education and medical decisions to extra-curricular activities and estate planning, there is a lot to consider that affects a child’s upbringing. One of the most uncomfortable decisions a parent has to make is to consider what would become of their children if something happened to the parent. Many parents choose to overlook this decision because it is difficult to think about, but if something happens to the parent and a plan is not in place, the state will make decisions for the children which may not be in line with the parent’s wishes. This is where guardianship or conservatorship can help.
At Pinnacle Law, we understand how important it is for parents to have a say in their children’s lives, even if the parent can no longer be physically present. We offer guardianship and conservatorship support to those who want to ensure that their children are in good hands with the care of someone they trust if something happens to the parent. We will sit by you until you understand your specific situation and help you develop a plan that will make your family’s needs a reality.
Guardianship is a legal relationship that is created when a court appoints someone to make decisions on behalf of another individual, officially known as the ward. The guardian has the legal authority to make decisions about the ward’s education, medical treatment, personal care, and other important matters. Guardianship can act as a temporary or permanent arrangement, and it can be limited to specific areas of decision-making or be broad.
A conservatorship is similar to a guardianship arrangement in that it is a legal relationship created when a court appoints someone to make decisions on behalf of another person. The difference is that a conservatorship is specifically for financial matters. The conservator has every legal authority to make decisions about the ward’s finances, including managing bank accounts, paying bills, and investing money. Like guardianship, a conservatorship can be temporary or permanent and can be limited to specific areas of decision-making or it can be broader.
For any guardian or conservator to be appointed, a petition must be filed with the court. This petition must be served on the prospective ward and any other interested parties. It will contain information about the petitioner, the ward, and why the petitioner is requesting to be appointed as guardian or conservator. Once the petition is filed, a hearing will be held in which the court will decide whether or not to appoint the petitioner as guardian or conservator.
The petition typically includes:
At the hearing, the petitioner will need to present evidence to support their request for guardianship or conservatorship. This may include testimony from witnesses, doctors, or other professionals. The court will also consider any objections that interested parties have raised. After considering all of the evidence, the court will decide whether or not to appoint the petitioner as guardian or conservator.
It can be difficult to talk to children about the possibility of guardianship or conservatorship as it can often mean drastic and confusing changes in their lives. Whether they are aware of the surrounding circumstances or not, it is important to appropriately involve them in the process. Here are a few tips to help make the conversation easier:
If you are considering guardianship or conservatorship, it’s important that you have accurate information and a comprehensive understanding of the process. You don’t want to take any unnecessary risks when it comes to the care of your loved one. The experienced attorneys at Pinnacle Law can help. We will review your individual situation and provide you with the guidance and representation you need.
Our previous clients have entrusted us with some of the most difficult decisions they’ve ever had to make. We can help you, too. Contact us today to schedule a consultation. We look forward to speaking with you.