August 26, 2020 Guardianship

Clarity and Stability: Are They Achievable Goals in the Area of Guardianship Law?

By Karren J. Pope-Onwukwe

Can you imagine how you would feel if your mother’s health is failing and you and your siblings are informed that the only legal recourse you have is a legal guardianship? You step up to the plate and volunteer to become guardian of property for your mother, only to be informed that you may not serve in that capacity because you do not reside in the same state as your mother. Or, imagine that you are your mother’s legal guardian and, because of a job transfer you must pack up and move out of state only to find that your guardianship is not recognized in your new state and you must file for a guardianship in the new state? Frustration, anxiety, even anger at what should be an orderly process to obtain authority over a person in need of assistance can occur all too frequently from state to state and indeed in some instances from county to county in guardianship/conservatorship matters. As more and more people utilize guardianship/conservatorship law to assist family members and friends in managing their property, there have been some highly publicized egregious cases highlighting abuse, lack of oversight, and lack of basic practice standards in the area of guardianship/conservatorship law.

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