FAQS – Questions and answers about Utah Guardianships

Articles related to Utah Guardianships and Conservatorships:  ■ FAQS – Questions and answers about Utah Guardianships,    ■ FAQS – Questions and answers about Utah Conservatorships

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FAQs about Utah Guardianships *

For more information about Utah guardianships and conservatorships, see “Utah Guardianships and Conservatorships“.

What is a guardian? *

A guardian is a person who has legal authority to make important life decisions for another person (called the “ward“) who is legally incompetent to make his or her own decisions.

When is a guardian needed? *

In Utah, a senior is legally incompetent (“incapacitated”) if he or she is “impaired by reason of mental illness, mental deficiency, physical illness or disability, chronic use of drugs, chronic intoxication, or other cause… the extent of lacking sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions.” (Utah Probate Code, section 75-1-201 (22)).

How is a guardian appointed? *

A guardian for a senior must be appointed by an order of the probate division of a Utah District Court (Utah Probate Code, section 75-1-201 (22)).

Who can file to have a guardian appointed? *

Any person interested in the incapacitated person’s welfare may petition the court for finding of an incapacitated person and appointment of a guardian.” (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-303 (22)). “Interested” means a spouse, a child, an heir, a creditor, a beneficiary, or any person who has a direct financial interest (“pecuniary interest”) in the incapacitated person’s affairs. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-1-201 (22); In re Cloward’s Estate, 82 P2d 336 (Utah Supreme Court, 1938)

What is the court procedure for appointing a guardian? *

When a Utah Guardianship petition is filed, the court is required to set a hearing date and appoint a lawyer to represent the person who is alleged to be incapacitated if he or she dose not already have a guardianship lawyer. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-303)

The District Court may appoint a physician to examine the person who is alleged to be incapacitated and to file a written report with the court. The court may send a visitor (usually a lawyer or social worker) to examine the person and file a report and recommendation to the court. If the alleged incapacitated person will not or cannot appear at the court hearing, the court must appoint a visitor to investigate and file a report unless the person suffers from fourth state Alzheimer’s Disease, is in an extended coma, or has profound mental retardation. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-303)

The hearing can be closed to the public at the request of the person who is alleged to be appointed. If the evidence is not “clear and convincing” of the need for a guardian, the petition will be dismissed. (Utah Probate Code, Section 75-5-303)

What is a limited Guardianship? *

A limited guardianship is a court ordered arrangement which allows a partially incapacitated person to retain some decision-making powers while requiring help from a guardian for other important decisions. Few lawyers file for limited guardianships, but Utah courts must give preference to a limited appointment. (Utah Probate Code, section 75-5-304)

Hire a Utah guardianship attorney *

Our Guardianship attorneys at Helgesen, Houtz & Jones offer a free consultation to all of our clients so you can make sure you are getting the best help before you hire us. Call us or come visit us at one of our locations today for a free consultation of your case.

Helgesen, Houtz & Jones $$(801) 544-5306