Disabled persons may need a guardian to handle anything from medical care to living arrangements on their behalf. So, what happens when there’s a need for custody change for disabled adults or when a disabled person moves to Arizona?
Read on to learn how to transfer guardianship of a disabled person in Arizona or to Arizona from another state and whether you need a guardianship attorney in Arizona.
The Duties of a Guardian in Arizona
A guardian in charge of a disabled person (the ward) may be responsible for numerous aspects of the disabled individual’s care. The guardian’s duties generally depend on the ward’s needs and degree of disability.
However, a guardian will usually do the following:
- Oversee the ward’s physical needs, including living arrangements, food, clothing, and medical care.
- Coordinate suitable rehabilitation, education, and training for the ward if practical.
- Protect the disabled person’s rights and pursue available benefits on their behalf.
- Adopt the general principles of positive parenting to encourage the ward to be as independent and self-reliant as possible.
- If applicable, seek alternative, less restrictive forms of handling a disabled person’s care.
- Make regular reports about the ward’s welfare.
Any competent individual can serve as a guardian, including a spouse, a parent, an adult child, another relative, or a private or public fiduciary.
Changing Guardianship Arrangements in Arizona
A disabled person’s guardianship arrangements in Arizona may need to change in various scenarios. The more common situations are as follows:
Replacing or Adding a Guardian
Another person might want to share guardianship with the disabled individual’s present guardian. Alternatively, someone may need to replace the current guardian if they can’t continue their duties.
A Guardian’s Resignation
Sometimes, a guardian will voluntarily resign when they are no longer able or willing to handle guardianship. If no family member or another suitable person will step up as a replacement guardian, the court may appoint a public guardian.
If one family member serves as the guardian for a disabled person, but other family members believe they’re unsuitable, they may petition to remove the current guardian. The petitioners would have to explain how the present guardian is failing their role or duties.
Legal Steps for Guardianship Transfer to Arizona From Another State
So, that’s how to transfer guardianship of a disabled person in-state, but what if a disabled person moves to Arizona from another state?
Arizona has adopted the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act (UAGPPJA). The act facilitates guardianship transfer between states and ensures the new state recognizes guardianship given in the former state. If the state that originally granted guardianship has adopted the Act as well, the guardianship transfer process should be fairly straightforward.
To protect disabled persons’ rights, transferring guardianship under the UAGPPJA stipulates the following:
- The ward’s relocation to Arizona is permanent
- The relocation is in the ward’s interests
- There’s no valid opposition to the move to Arizona
- The guardian provides a reasonable plan to care for the disabled person in Arizona
If you’re guardian to a person moving to Arizona from a state that isn’t part of the UAGPPJA, transferring guardianship gets complicated. You’ll need to start the petition for guardianship afresh in Arizona, and you may also need the original state’s permission to move the disabled person. In this situation, it’s usually better to hire a guardianship attorney like Lincoln & Wenk to help you streamline the process.
Below are the basic steps for transferring guardianship to Arizona from another state operating under the UAGPPJA:
#1 Filing a Petition
First, you’ll need to file a Petition for Acceptance of Transfer of Guardianship. Fill out the petition, complete with a probate information cover sheet (listing basic details about the ward and petitioner). Then, include an affidavit of the prospective guardian to go to the superior court.
#2 A Hearing Date
After reviewing your documents, the court will send you a hearing date. If necessary, they will also appoint an attorney for the disabled person. The court will usually issue approval of the guardianship transfer and a temporary order confirming you as the guardian.
#3 Informing the Original State
You’ll have to inform the state that granted guardianship of your intent to transfer guardianship to Arizona. Once the former state has all the details (your petition, the hearing date, etc.), they will send the approval of the guardianship transfer. Once you receive the approval document, you’ll need to file it with the superior court.
#4 Final Hearing
The Arizona court in charge of your guardianship transfer may require a final hearing before granting you the approval. Whether this final hearing takes place will depend on the ward’s court-appointed attorney and some other considerations.
For instance, the court may decide to hold a final hearing if someone files an objection to the ward’s transfer or if the petition for transferring guardianship is missing information.
Do You Need an Attorney for Transferring Guardianship?
You may choose to handle a guardianship transfer yourself, but the procedure will be simpler if you work with an experienced attorney in Arizona who knows how to transfer guardianship of a disabled person. Even under the Act, guardianship transfer from other states requires lots of hassle and paperwork, and a single mistake could lead to frustrating delays or a case dismissal.
A guardianship attorney can help with the following:
- Take care of all the legal procedures related to guardianship transfer
- Ensure your petition and other documentation answer the court’s requirements
- Support you in building a case when there’s a contested guardianship
- Navigate the legal hurdles of guardianship transfer to Arizona if the original state hasn’t adopted the UAGPPJA
Lincoln & Wenk | Guardianship and Conservatorship Matters in Arizona
Are you wondering how to transfer guardianship of a disabled person to or within Arizona? Lincoln & Wenk handles all matters related to the guardianship process in Arizona, from legal guardianship transfer to choosing different types of guardians for your special needs child.
Call Lincoln & Wenk at (623) 294-2464 to schedule a consultation with our Arizona guardianship attorney today.