Over the last decade or so, the Courts have seen a huge increase in active defense of individuals responding to a petition for adult guardianship or conservatorship. The lawyers in these cases are often pioneers with few resources or role models. Yet as the experience of Clark County Nevada has shown, a meaningful defense results in more than 1/3 of all cases being resolved without the appointment of a guardian. Two years ago, a search for a book on how to develop and present a case defending against guardianship found nothing, so the ABA Commission on Law and Aging decided to create one, and here it is.
Divided into 18 short chapters, the text covers the ethics of representing clients in these cases, an overview of legal capacity, an exploration of due process challenges in guardianship cases, an overview of communication accommodations, issues when guardianship is used to change estate planning, options for health care decision making, alternatives to guardianship for financial management, a review of activities of daily living and actual abilities, interventions to avoid guardianship, how to select witnesses, court proceedings, a discussion of attendance by the defendant at hearings, actions to modify or terminate an existing guardianship, deciding on and developing a defense strategy, and how to select the best guardian when a guardian is needed.