Elder Law

 

Conservatorship
A conservatorship is a legal proceeding that gives a “conservator” power over the property and finances of a financially incapable person (the “protected person”). A conservatorship may be established for a person who cannot manage his or her financial resources effectively. Letters of Conservatorship is the court paper which gives the conservatorship authority to make financial decisions on the protected person’s behalf. Each year, the conservator must tell the court how he or she managed the money and property of the protected person. The conservator does not have the power to make personal decisions for the protected person.

Guardianship
Guardianship can occur because a person becomes unable to make decisions for their well-being and safety. A guardian is appointed by the court when the protected person becomes so incapacitated that she or he is in danger of serious physical injury or illness without a guardian to make decisions for them. A person may petition the court to set up a guardianship. The court appoints a visitor to interview the person seeking appointment, the proposed protected person, and others involved. The visitor submits a report to the court. Letters of Guardianship is the court paper which gives the guardian authority to act on the protected person’s behalf. If the court directs, the guardian can control where the protected person lives and receives medical treatment. A guardianship can also be established over a minor child to give an adult other than the child’s parent authority to make decisions for the child.

Elder Abuse

A court order can provide protection against physical, financial, and emotional abuse for persons 65 or older and disabled persons. “Abuse” is conduct, within the last six months, that caused injury intentionally or by neglect, or abandonment. “Abuse” also means verbal abuse, sexual abuse, or financial exploitation. The protection order lasts for one year, and can be renewed for a second year.

An action for abuse can be filed by the victim, or the heirs or the personal representative of a person whose death was the result of abuse.  A court can order the abuser to pay your attorney’s fees, three times economic damages, and emotional distress damages.


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