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Guardianships and Conservatorships

Estate-Planning

Guardianship & Conservatorship Attorneys Help You Care for Vulnerable Loved Ones

Orem lawyers help you take steps to safeguard minors and older adults

One of the greatest challenges we can face is trying to care for loved ones who lack the capacity to manage for themselves. Often, the greatest impediment is the absence of legal authority to act for the welfare of another, and that’s where a guardianship and/or conservatorship can be immensely helpful. Skabelund Wirig & Loos, we help concerned adults gain the legal authority to act in the best interests of another person. If you are concerned about the welfare of a loved one, we can explain your options, and guide you through the process of being appointed a guardian or conservator.

What is the difference between conservatorship and guardianship in Utah?

The terms guardianship and conservatorship have different meanings in different states. In Utah, the terms refer to authority over different areas affecting the ward or conservatee.

  • Guardianship — This is authority over the person, known as the ward. The guardian makes decisions affecting the health and welfare of the ward. Deciding on medical treatment for the ward is an important function, especially when the ward is elderly or has special needs.
  • Conservatorship — This is authority over the estate of the conservatee. The conservator acts to protect (e., conserve) assets by capably managing the conservatee’s finances. The conservator has the authority to pay bills, negotiate with creditors, transfer funds, manage investments, and sell property. A conservatorship can be limited in scope. For example, a conservator may have the authority to handle monthly bills but no authority to sell property.

Under certain circumstances, a guardian or conservator may receive reasonable compensation from the ward’s estate for the performance of their duties, if the court approves.

To be appointed a guardian or conservator, you must petition the court. In the case of a minor child, lack of capacity is a matter of law, but a judge can still consider a mature child’s preferences. In the case of an older adult, you must be prepared to prove the adult’s incapacity to a judge.

Your options for avoiding conservatorship

Since the premise behind a guardian or conservator’s appointment is the ward’s lack of capacity, the ward also lacks the capacity to enter into a legal agreement. Therefore, a court must make the appointment. In many cases, the appointment comes over the objection of the ward, who is entitled to legal representation. The result can be a painful legal battle.

To avoid the downside of litigating an appointment, you can attempt, while your loved one still retains mental capacity, to arrange for a voluntary transfer of authority under a power of attorney document. A power of attorney can be limited in scope, allowing you to help manage your loved one’s finances and make medical decisions if he or she becomes incapacitated. Older adults often object to powers of attorney at first but in time come to appreciate the protections they offer. You can update powers of attorney as your elder loved one’s condition changes. Having an established power of attorney can make it easier to become a guardian or conservator later on.

How an experienced and concerned estate planning attorney can help

There are many issues to consider if you are contemplating a guardianship or conservatorship. Do you fully understand the duties you’d be taking on? Do you appreciate the risk of personal liability for financial mistakes? How will your loved one react? Can you obtain an appointment without a contentious court battle? When you come to Skabelund Wirig & Loos for assistance, you get the benefit of our experience, which spans decades. We are prepared to give you the personal attention your case requires and to handle all matters with the utmost delicacy and professionalism.

Contact our reputable Orem law firm for guardianship and conservatorship matters

If you need legal authority to care for a vulnerable loved one, Skabelund Wirig & Loos is prepared to help. To schedule a free consultation with an experienced and concerned attorney, call us at 801-788-4447 or contact our office online. We are conveniently located at 1149 West Center Street in Orem, just off I-15.

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Our Office
  • Orem Office
    1149 West Center Street
    Orem, Utah 84057
    Phone: 801-222-9700
    Fax: 801-224-9960
Client Testimonials
  • "Steve Skabelund is Excellent! He has helped out many of my family and friends with getting their Will and Trust documents in order. He is friendly, quick at getting the job done and does it at a fee that is affordable. I would highly recommend Steve to anyone who is considering having these types of services done. Thanks Steve for a job well done!"  -Lorie P., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "My company and I have been working with Brent Wirig for a couple of years now and he has been crucial to the success of our small business. He is knowledgeable and gets things done in a timely manner. He is also very easy to reach. We have used his expertise on everything from the original business paperwork, to taxes, and client contracts. Would highly recommend Skabelund Wirig and Loos."  -Michael, 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "We have had such a positive experience with Brent Wirig as our family estate planning attorney. He also has helped us with the organization documents for our new business and explained everything clearly. He works fast and has a deep concern for each client! We will definitely be using him for any future needs!"  -Danielle S., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "Steve has been our family attorney for over 15 years. Over the years Steve has been there to help us with our estate planning needs. Every time I would leave on a vacation without the kids I would have panic attacks about not having my estate in order. We have a special needs son so that added to my anxiety. Steve helped us plan for our future with how to structure our estate to best meet the needs of our family. Now I can go on vacation and leave at least that worry behind. A few months before our son turned 18 we had to petition the court to become our son's legal guardian. Steve was there to make sure everything was in order. It was a smooth process. I would highly recommend Steve and his associated to take care of your Family Law needs!!"  -Teri T., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "I felt like an actual person, rather than just another number! Steve Loos was great in getting back with me when I needed to talk to him. The Bonus part of my experience with Steve is I actually got a portion of my retaining fee back!! That NEVER happens! Thank you Tiffany Hedges for the referral! You all are amazing!"  -Dana D., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "Brent is one of the most thorough and efficient attorneys that I have worked with as a client. He will go the extra mile for you. Also, you actually feel that he cares about you as an individual!"  -Peter S., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "Stephen Loos is a great combination of being pleasant and competent, which is rare nowadays. I highly recommend Stephen for your legal needs."  -IIdar F., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "Brent Wirig just helped us with our estate planning documents and he was extra great to work with. We highly recommend him."  -Catherine C., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "Brent Wirig is very helpful and explains things I don't understand in a clear and concise way. He is easy to work with and willing to go the extra mile to help out."  -Annie S., 5.0 rating ★★★★★

  • "My review is a little slow however we worked with both Stephen Loos and BJ on multiple things and they were awesome!! Professional, friendly, knowledgeable and always willing to accept a call and answer any questions! Great guys!"  -Jennifer B., 5.0 rating ★★★★★